A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this all-night-party movie set in the 1980s is, on the surface, focused on the main characters getting "wasted" and "laid." And while there's plenty of content related to sex and drinking/drugs, by the time the night ends, the characters have learned lessons about facing challenges rather than avoiding them. Still, expect lots of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and more), drug use and drinking, and sexual situations, innuendoes, and even some nudity. Bottom line? Save this one for older teens ... and parents who fondly remember the era of skinny ties and shoulder pads.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's the 1980s, and math genius Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) has graduated from MIT but can't decide what he wants to do with his life ... so he works at a video store. One day his old high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), walks in, and to win a date with her, he lies about being a successful banker. She invites him to a party, and Matt shows up with his best friend Barry (Dan Fogler) -- a loud, precocious car salesman who has just lost his job. Accompanied by Matt's sister, Wendy (Anna Faris), they steal a car to make the ruse complete. While Barry experiments with cocaine, a dance-off, and sex with strange women, Matt must figure out a way to keep Tori interested without letting his lie get out of control.
Is it any good?
Anyone who loved Sixteen Candles back in the 1980s will love TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, too. Thanks to the fine casting and the earnest devotion to the old, all-night-party genre, the movie works its warm, funny magic and casts a spell that's both nostalgic and naughty. It's so good-natured and sweet, in fact, that somehow the heavy language, sex, and drugs don't seem particularly shocking or offensive (but that doesn't mean that it's an age-appropriate pick for younger viewers).
Grace is nicely cast as the former high school nerd, and Fogler gets to be a bit more than the goofy sidekick; he actually gets most of the movie's action. Palmer has an undeniable spark, and Faris is one of our best current screen comediennes. The combination of the four is nearly unbeatable. And Canadian director Michael Dowse balances everything admirably, despite his uneven previous movies (It's All Gone Pete Tong, etc.).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sex in the movie. What is the movie saying about sex and relationships? Do some characters have more meaningful experiences than others? What message does that send?
Barry tries cocaine -- as well as alcohol -- after a terrible day in which he loses his job. Is that an excuse for his behavior? What kinds of consequences could that have had in real life?
Why would Matt be afraid of doing something with his life? Why is he hiding? Does that make him more sympathetic or relatable?
Who do you think this movie is intended to appeal to -- today's teens or older audiences who were teens/young adults during the '80s? Why?
- In theaters: March 4, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: July 19, 2011
- Cast: Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Topher Grace
- Director: Michael Dowse
- Studio: Rogue Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual content and drug use
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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