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Take Me Home Tonight


Stars: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt, Michelle Trachtenberg, Chris Pratt, Lucy Punch, Michael Ian Black, Demetri Martin

Director: Michael Dowse

It’s the 1980s and the music track that keeps reminding you of the decade. Grace (looking several years older than the 23-year-old he plays) is an MIT engineering graduate who, unable to make up his mind what he wants to do, still lives at home, to his policeman father's considerable annoyance, and works part time in a DVD rental store. Enter Palmer, his unrequited high school dream girl and, to his delight, she invites him to a wild end of summer party. Seeing his chance, Grace, posing as a financier, agrees to come and, accompanied by his “twin” (oh, yeah!) sister Faris and his just-fired-from-his-car-salesman-job best friend Fogler, he heads for a lurid night that involves a stolen car, booze, sex, drugs and general bad behaviour…

Superbad and its ilk have a lot to answer for.

Mind you, this witless heavy-handed comedy is less than super and rather more bad. Grace does his best in the face of a lumpen script that is brimming with more than enough four-letter words to satisfy even Channel 4 but – like the film itself – his role is graceless and charmless and mostly beyond redemption. Fogler, lumbered with the anorexic Seth Rogen-style role of the cheerful dimwit driven by lust, alcohol and cocaine, mugs like mad and becomes ever more irritating every time he appears. Palmer looks lovely, even though her character is less convincing than a political manifesto, while Faris simply deserves our sympathy.

(The film was neatly summed up for me by the art director who decided a poster of the 1986 film Howard the Duck was perfect decoration for the video store where Grace works - since the duck in question was a turkey.) And it's hard to like a story whose moral appears to be "you're in luck if your father happens to be a conscienceless cop".

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 09 May 2011