Ron Batzdorff
Owen Gleiberman
March 08, 2011 AT 05:00 AM EST

Take Me Home Tonight

Current Status
In Season
100 minutes
Wide Release Date
Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler
Michael Dowse
Relativity Media, Rogue Pictures
Jackie Filgo
Comedy, Drama

We gave it a B

There are deep-dish ’80s nostalgia movies, like Adventureland and Hot Tub Time Machine. Then there’s Take Me Home Tonight, which duplicates the car crashes, drug jokes, all-night-long plot twists, and robot hip-hop dance moves of low-rent ’80s party flicks with such casual fidelity that you may ask: Why not just watch Losin’ It, Bachelor Party, or License to Drive instead? I can’t claim that Take Me Home Tonight, set in the summer of 1988, is much better than – or different from – the real (cheesy) thing, but it does possess a certain backward-glancing innocent appeal.

Topher Grace, as an MIT grad who has become the world’s most overqualified L.A. video-store clerk, looks longer and leaner than before, and he’s got a new confidence, too. He spends the film crashing beer bashes and pretending to be a big deal at Goldman Sachs, all to woo Teresa Palmer, who’s like Kristen Stewart minus the storm-cloud moodiness. The more he lies, the faster he talks, but that’s his rite of passage. (Any wuss can be sincere.) He also has to look after his pudgy-loser-sidekick buddy, played by Dan Fogler, who bounces off the walls like Jack Black and also evokes the smarmy-cute Curtis Armstrong from Risky Business. It gives you a jolt to recall, in this age of geek chic, that being unhip was once truly unhip. B

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