'Take Me Home Tonight' covers the same territory as several adored, coming-of-age comedies - one wild and romantic night can transform your life forever. Add to this a dollop of the Eighties - one of Hollywood's favourite decades to revisit - and you can kind of predict where the story is going to go. But while 'Take Me Home Tonight' may be all about big hair and wine coolers, it fails to provide any delicious gags.
Matt Franklin (Grace) has brains to burn and according to his friends and family, he should be working for a Fortune 500 Company. Instead, his lack of direction has found him working part-time at the local video store. Like most young adults, Matt's inability to accept that he is getting older and his refusal to enter the big bad world make him feel like he is stuck in a rut. Before you can say, 'Party like it's 1988', in walks Matt's high school crush, the gorgeous Tori Frederking (Palmer) to make him one invite he can't refuse.
With the help of his eccentric friend Barry (Fogler), who skipped college to sell cars, and his adventurous sister Wendy (Faris), who is dating a complete loser (Pratt), Matt plucks up the courage to attend the "totally awesome" Labour Day party. After stealing a sweet ride, creating a new alias as an investment banker, discovering a secret stash of cocaine and jiving to some dope tunes, Matt is confronted with even more dilemmas. Does he go after his dreams, or does he try and bag his dream girl?
Grace has a likeable screen persona that gives 'Take Me Home Tonight' just enough juice to coast along - even when it grinds to a halt on the humour front. The main problem is that the contrived dialogue makes it extremely difficult for any of the characters to form credible on-screen relationships, most notably between Palmer and Grace. Their lack of heart towards each other means any hopes of chemistry go out the window at an early stage.
As for the other cast members, Fogler gets some mediocre gags, but they are few and far between and his character's obnoxious persona is irritating. Faris is completely wasted in her role as Matt's twin sister, and her character doesn't develop beyond the slightly amusing opening scene.
There is no real reason for the story to be set in the Eighties, apart from allowing the filmmakers to use some clichéd selections from the decade's songbook.
You could claim that this movie never finds what it's looking for.