3 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund
As the 1980s continue to shrink in our cultural rearview, movie studios continue to greenlight decadent, souped-up homage vehicles in an attempt to cash in on the new retro. Some of these films rely too heavily on the nylon-and-neon kitsch of their setting, while others push past exteriors and actually capture a nostalgic spirit. “Take Me Home Tonight,” a 1988-set comedy about a landmark evening in the lives of a handful of L.A. 20-somethings, does both.
Written by the vintage-happy duo of Jeff and Jackie Filgo (“That '70s Show”), the movie spends much of its first half packing in the era-appropriate details, from popped collars to moussed-up hair to “Come On Eileen” to the all-but-defunct Suncoast video store chain. It's a flashy buffet designed to distract from the humdrum story's lack of ambition: Swimming in quarter-life confusion, underachieving college grad Matt (Topher Grace) heads to an all-night bash with his judgmental sister (Anna Faris) and oafish friend (Dan Fogler), feigning success in order to woo his high school crush (Teresa Palmer). What else is new?
|Grace and Palmer take in the period detail.|
“Take Me Home” will come and go as quickly as acid-washed jeans, but for a brief period it serves as an endearing, efficient little time machine. Once it reaches a climax where Matt rouses the party crowd with a speech before risking death to impress his dream girl, you'll swear you were watching this movie on VHS – a VHS you bought at Suncoast.
A version of this review was previously published at SouthPhillyReview.com. To read it there, CLICK HERE.