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Topher Grace is stuck in the '80s in 'Take Me Home Tonight'



Topher Grace in Take Me Home Tonight

Topher Grace is back to his time-traveling shtick in Take Me Home Tonight, a new movie about the '80s with an ironic title because Eddie Money's hit song never plays during the film and nobody takes anybody home this particular night.

Here's a quick portion of the review I wrote for the newspaper: "Take Me Home Tonight feels very much like 1987's Less Than Zero, if that story's writer Bret Easton Ellis did it as a comedy, not a tragedy." (Personally, I never really liked Less Than Zero, so this is a compliment.)

I get the feeling that '80s fans ultimately will be disappointed by this movie, which earned a very lenient B-minus grade from me. It's not nearly as good as Adam Sandler's The Wedding Singer -- still the gold standard of movies that salute our decade -- and it feels like it arrived in theaters a little late into the '80s renaissance. (It did actually; four years late, but you have to read my review to find out why.)

Still, there are some reasons to consider seeing the movie anyway. Five reasons, of course.


5. The movie begins in a Suncoast video store, a true relic of the '80s and worth celebrating on its own. Topher actually worked at a Suncoast locale in California earlier in his life so that adds an extra layer of appreciation to this detail.

4. The story was co-written by Topher himself. Grace has always been one of the more silent stars to emerge from That '70s Show. While co-stars Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have already distinguished themselves on the big screen (and in the tabloid pages), Grace has maintained a lower profile. It's tempting to look at his story for clues inside his closely guarded personal life.

3. It's a pet project of Topher's -- one that took nearly 10 years to produce from the earliest idea of a story to this weekend's debut at the box office. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I love movies that are pet projects. Warren Beatty's Reds always comes to mind. Take Me Home Tonight is no Reds, but I always applaud putting personal passion back into filmmaking. 

2. It's a chance to see the always wonderful Anna Faris and scene-stealing Dan Fogler before both their careers take off. I'm still hoping Faris lands the title role in the rumored remake of Private Benjamin. This movie doesn't give her a meaty enough role, but Faris is just enjoyable to watch work.

1. Two scenes made me laugh at loud hard. When Topher and Fogler drive through L.A. singing NWA's Straight Out of Compton, you will have your latest earworm. And an upside vomit scene will have you squirming in your seat. These days, that's all you can ask from a trip to the cineplex.

[Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2011 9:55am]


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