Take Me Home Tonight (film)

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. 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.

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
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]

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. When Matt's high school crush, Tori Frederking, walks into the store, he lies that he works at Goldman Sachs. Tori invites Matt to a Labor Day party, hosted by Matt's twin sister Wendy's boyfriend, Kyle.

When Matt, Wendy, and Matt's best friend, Barry Nathan, head to the party, Barry steals a Mercedes-Benz from the car dealership he got fired from earlier that day, saying Matt needs it to impress Tori. At the party, Matt awkwardly tries to woo Tori. Barry snorts some cocaine he found in the glove box of the stolen car and gets involved in a dance-off, and Kyle proposes to Wendy in front of the whole party. Her acceptance disappoints Matt, who doesn't think that Kyle will support her in her dream to attend graduate school.

Tori takes Matt and Barry to her boss' party in Beverly Hills. Barry has a wild sexual encounter with an older woman while Matt and Tori grow closer, after Matt's successful 'put down' of Tori's boss, a habitual sexual harasser. They go into a neighbor's backyard where they jump on a trampoline, play truth or dare, and end up having sex.

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 that he doesn't work at Goldman Sachs. Tori storms off, leaving Matt guilt-ridden. He finds Barry and they leave the party. Barry chastises Matt for not trying to have just one night of enjoyment and offers him a line of cocaine while driving. Matt attempts to snort the cocaine, but ends up driving the convertible into a ditch. A police cruiser arrives, and it turns out to be Matt's dad. 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. Matt apologizes to his dad for being such a failure, to which his dad replies that he's never acted, so has never reached failure. 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. Matt finds Tori and tries to apologize, but she is unwilling to forgive him. Feeling he has nothing to lose, Matt volunteers to "ride the ball", hitting several parked cars then flying off an embankment, landing in a backyard swimming pool. Matt almost drowns before escaping the sinking ball.

Barry rushes to the scene and walks with Matt back toward the party, meeting up with Wendy and Tori, who are elated to find him alive. Matt apologizes to Tori, and she forgives him, then gives him her phone number. The group return to the party as dawn approaches. All who are still there 'whoop' it up at Matt's successful return.

Wendy, realizing Matt was right, breaks up with Kyle, who experiences a crying breakdown. Pondering his future with Ashley, a Goth girl he met at the party, Barry is told by her that maybe he should go to college. Outside, Matt boldly kisses Tori goodbye. Matt's dad, investigating the giant ball in the pool, smirks proudly when he finds his son's name tag. Matt, Barry and Wendy stagger out of the party house, leaving 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[8], 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 officeEdit

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 responseEdit

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."[9] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 42 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade C on scale of A to F.[11]

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."[12] 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".[13] David Denby of The New Yorker wrote: "The movie is amiable enough: the young Australian actress Teresa Palmer is lovely and crisp, and the Canadian writer-director Michael Dowse manages the party traffic well."[14]

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."[15]


Teen Choice Awards

Home mediaEdit

The DVD and Blu-ray were released on July 19, 2011. The Blu-ray edition includes a digital copy.[8]


  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. ^ "Faris, Fogler, Grace to Act Like 'Kids'". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
  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. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (2010-08-12). "Relativity schedules first three releases". Variety. Retrieved 2010-08-14.
  9. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  10. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  11. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  12. ^ "Take Me Home Tonight | Movie Reviews". Rolling Stone. 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  13. ^ Chris Tookey (2011-05-13). "Take Me Home Tonight review: This really is super bad | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  14. ^ Denby, David (March 6, 2011). "Looking for Love". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2019-09-09.
  15. ^ Covert, Colin (2014-02-06). "Movies | Detroit Free Press". freep.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10.

External linksEdit