Take Me Home Tonight (film)

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Take Me Home Tonight
Take Me Home Tonight Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Dowse
Produced byRyan Kavanaugh[1]
Jim Whitaker[1]
Susan Bowen[1]
Screenplay byJackie Filgo
Jeff Filgo
Story byTopher Grace
Gordon Kaywin
StarringTopher Grace
Anna Faris
Dan Fogler
Teresa Palmer
Music byTrevor Horn
CinematographyTerry Stacey
Edited byLee Haxall
Distributed byRelativity Media (US/Canada/North America) Universal Pictures (International)
Release date
  • March 2, 2011 (2011-03-02) (Los Angeles premiere)
  • March 4, 2011 (2011-03-04)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$19 million[2]
Box office$7.4 million[3]

Take Me Home Tonight is a 2011 American retro comedy film directed by Michael Dowse and starring an ensemble cast led by Topher Grace and Anna Faris; prior to release the film was titled Young Americans and Kids in America. The screenplay was written by Jackie and Jeff Filgo, former writers of the television sitcom That '70s Show, of which Grace was a cast member.

Shooting began on the week starting February 19, 2007,[4] in Phoenix, Arizona.[5] The film received its wide theatrical release on March 4, 2011.

The title comes from the 1986 Eddie Money song of the same name, also played in the theatrical trailer and on the menu screen of the Blu-Ray and DVD releases. Despite having the same name, it never actually appears in the movie.


Matt Franklin is a recent MIT graduate who works at a Los Angeles Suncoast Video store in 1988 while trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life, something that his police officer father has grown impatient with. While working one day, Matt's high school crush, Tori Frederking walks into the store. After pretending that he doesn't work there and saying that he works at Goldman Sachs in an effort to impress her, Tori invites Matt to a Labor Day party, hosted by Matt's twin sister Wendy's boyfriend, Kyle Masterson, at his hillside home.

Later that night, Matt, Wendy, and Matt's best friend, Barry Nathan (Dan Fogler), head to the party. On the drive over, Barry steals a brand new Mercedes-Benz convertible from the car dealership he got fired from earlier that day, justifying his actions by saying that Matt needs the convertible if he really wants to impress Tori. The trio arrive at the party. While there, Matt catches up with an old classmate (who actually works at Goldman Sachs) and then awkwardly tries to woo Tori. Barry snorts some cocaine he found in the glove box of the stolen convertible and gets involved in a dance-off, and Wendy's boyfriend proposes to her in front of everyone at the party. She says yes, upsetting Matt, who doesn't think that Kyle will support her in her dream to attend graduate school at the University of Cambridge. Tori eventually invites Matt and Barry to another party her boss is hosting in Beverly Hills. Matt takes Tori there in the Mercedes, while Barry rides with her two friends in another car, using the cocaine as an enticement to let him go along. Barry has a wild sexual encounter with an older woman while Matt and Tori continue to mingle with each other, after Matt's successful 'put down' of Tori's boss, a habitual sexual harasser. They leave the party to go into a neighbor's backyard where they jump on a trampoline, play truth or dare, and end up having sex.

Meanwhile, Wendy shares her unopened admissions letter from Cambridge with Kyle, and it is revealed that she was not accepted. Kyle is visibly relieved, while Wendy is visibly upset. Matt confesses to Tori that he doesn't actually work at Goldman Sachs. Tori gets extremely upset at his deception and storms off, back to her boss's party, leaving Matt guilt-ridden. Matt finds Barry there and they leave the party, and Matt tells Barry about how he told Tori the truth about his job. Barry patronizes him for not trying to have just one night of enjoyment and attempts to lighten the mood by offering Matt a line of cocaine, despite him driving. Matt, feeling vulnerable, attempts to snort the cocaine, but ends up driving the convertible off the road and into a ditch. A police cruiser soon arrives, and it turns out to be Matt's dad and his police partner. Already disappointed with Matt's unwillingness to choose a career path, Mr. Franklin damages the convertible even more as a means of coercing Matt to get a better job in order to pay off the damages. He takes Matt and Barry into custody, but lets them off in the neighborhood with a warning. Matt apologizes to his dad for being such a failure, to which his dad replies that because he's never even tried to succeed, he's actually less than a failure. Then, in a less condescending tone, he encourages Matt to take a shot at anything in life.

Knowing Tori has left her car at the party, Matt and Barry make their way back there, where bets are being placed on who will "ride the ball", a giant, steel sphere that someone enters and rides as it's rolled down a hill (something Matt's dad has stated that nobody has done since he himself was a kid). Matt finds Tori at the party and tries to apologize, but Tori is unwilling to forgive him. Feeling he has nothing to lose, Matt volunteers to "ride the ball". When he does the ball rolls downhill uncontrollably, hitting several parked cars and eventually flying off an embankment before landing in a backyard swimming pool. Matt almost drowns as the ball sinks, but manages to escape just in time. Barry rushes to the scene and walks with Matt back toward the party, meeting up with Wendy and Tori, who are elated to discover he wasn't killed. Matt apologizes to Tori, and she forgives him after playing a little hard-to-get and then gives him her phone number. All four return to the party, which is beginning to wind down as dawn approaches. All who are still there 'whoop' it up at Matt's successful return.

Wendy, after realizing Matt was right all along, ends the engagement and breaks up with Kyle, who experiences a crying breakdown. Pondering his future with a Goth-type girl he met at the party, Barry is told by her that maybe he should go to college. Outside, as she leaves the party, Matt boldly kisses Tori goodbye. Matt's dad is shown investigating the scene where the steel ball was found. He finds Matt's Suncoast Video name tag floating in the pool, and smirks proudly. Barry staggers out of the party house, now in a shambles, to meet up with Wendy and Matt, who asks "Who wants breakfast?", and the three leave together as the sun is rising.



Principal photography was completed in 2007, but Universal Studios shelved the film until its 2011 theatrical release.[6] Topher Grace posted that the release of the film was delayed when the studio did not know how to handle and promote a youth comedy film with portrayals of cocaine use, as the drug was prominent in the 1980s.[7]

Its release remained delayed until Relativity Media subsidiary Rogue acquired the film from Universal Pictures for $10 million.[2][6] The film was previously titled Young Americans and Kids in America, titles of popular songs by David Bowie and Kim Wilde.

On March 3, 2011, while being interviewed on Ryan Seacrest's 102.7 KIIS FM radio show, Topher Grace announced to former American Idol contestant Chris Medina that 1% of the film's box office revenue would be donated to the care of Medina's injured fiancé, Juliana Ramos. Juliana was involved in a serious car accident in 2009 and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Her story has been widely followed across the nation since Medina's appearance on American Idol.


The film was released in the U.S. on March 4, 2011. Relativity released a trailer for the film in December 2010.

Box office[edit]

Take Me Home Tonight was a box office flop. The film debuted at #11, with $3,464,679 during its opening weekend in 2,003 theaters in North America. The film grossed $6,928,068 in North America, failing to recoup its $19 million budget.

Critical response[edit]

Take Me Home Tonight received generally mixed to negative reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating of 28%, based on 115 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It has a charming sweetness about it, but Take Me Home Tonight is neither funny nor original enough to live up to the comedies it evokes."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 42 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote that "Take Me Home Tonight has just enough heart and retro party spirit to hold the line before familiarity breeds contempt."[10] Critics have praised the leads and felt the film was heartwarming but was not very original or funny. London's Daily Mail described the film as a "laugh-free U.S. comedy" and "relentlessly unappealing".[11] David Denby of The New Yorker wrote that "(Topher) Grace has a way about him, the young Australian actress Palmer is lovely and crisp, and the Canadian writer-director Michael Dowse manages the exuberant traffic well enough."[12]

Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, writing that the movie is a "winning rag bag of gags, combining fast-paced physical shtick with a clever script. There's romantic comedy savvy period satire and "Jackass"-style stunts...Take Me Home Tonight is a time capsule from the heyday of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe, a time when comedies allowed their characters to be human as well as humorous."[13]

Since its release on home video, the film has gone on to develop a significant following and fan-base, largely driven by fans of 1980s teen films.[citation needed]


Teen Choice Awards

Home media[edit]

The DVD and Blu-ray were released on July 19, 2011. The Blu-ray edition includes a digital copy.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Relativity schedules first three releases". 2010-08-12. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  2. ^ a b Kaufman, Amy (2011-03-03). "Movie Projector: 'Rango' expected to shoot down the competition". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  3. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070930014710/http://www.backstage.com/bso/news_reviews/film/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003543486. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (December 17, 2010). "Hot Trailer: 'Take Me Home Tonight'". Deadline Hollywood.
  7. ^ "'Take Me Home Tonight' Delayed By Cocaine Use; Exclusive Early Screening Reaction". Thefilmstage.com. 2010-12-23. Archived from the original on 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  8. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  9. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  10. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight | Movie Reviews". Rolling Stone. 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  11. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight review: This really is super bad | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  12. ^ Denby, David. "Take Me Home Tonight". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  13. ^ Covert, Colin (2014-02-06). "Movies | Detroit Free Press". freep.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  14. ^ McClintock, Pamela (2010-08-12). "Relativity schedules first three releases". Variety. Retrieved 2010-08-14.

External links[edit]