Take Me Home Tonight (15)

Starring: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Teresa Palmer
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The Independent Culture

From the opening blast of Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" you know Michael Dowse's drippy 1980s comedy romance is going to be a dud.

It apes the likes of Weird Science, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off and fails to replicate the wit or charm of any of them. Topher Grace, as Matt Franklin (a role perennially occupied by Andrew McCarthy in the Eighties), doesn't help. We're supposed to cheer for his supposedly nerdy video-store clerk and his pursuit of his high-school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), but he resembles Justin Timberlake too much to come across as anything other than a cocky, savvy 23-year-old.

Take Me Home Tonight bludgeons us with a few 1980s references – Rubik's Cubes etc – and a wealth of New Romantic (Human League, Duran Duran) tracks to start with but unlike, say, The Wedding Singer, it never convincingly captures the decade. It's like a less crude, less funny American Pie with slightly frizzier hair. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any necessity to tell this tale in the Eighties at all.

The plot? Matt pretends he works for Goldman Sachs before arranging to meet Tori at a high school reunion party held by a dim jock, Kyle, the boyfriend of Tori's sister, Wendy (played by Anna Faris, a talented comedian, diminished here). Matt's chubby pal, Barry (Dan Fogler, a blend of Nick Frost and Jack Black), tags along too. The action largely takes place at two dismal, painful parties, featuring the usual clichés, plus an unsettlingly threesome involving a coked-up Barry. An unlikeable film, full of puerile (not in a good way) humour that highlights just how good the likes of Michael Cera, Kirsten Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg are. As Buggles (almost) sang, this picture came, and it won't break your heart...