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It’s bad enough that Michael Dowse’s retro-comedy Take Me Home Tonight isn’t nearly as much fun as the ’80s actually were. Even worse, it’s less fun than most ’80s comedies were — and that’s bad. Topher Grace plays Matt, a recent MIT grad circa 1988, whose life is stuck on “pause”: He’s working a dead-end job at Suncoast Video, and he still has the hots for Tori (Teresa Palmer), the golden goddess who wouldn’t look twice at him in high school and who barely looks once now. She comes into the store one day; he not-so-subtly puts the moves on her, telling her he works for Goldman Sachs (in the old days, this was supposed to drive girls wild). They agree to meet later at a huge Labor Day bash, where Matt will be able to perpetuate his silly lie and, with luck, win the girl.

[. . .]

I get that Dowse (Fubar, It’s All Gone Pete Tong) isn’t just mimicking ’80s comedies; he’s actually trying to make one, trusting, I suppose, that the audience is in on his ultra-ironic joke. The movie is badly lit and cheap-looking, presumably intentionally. But if modern audiences are really looking for sub-John Hughes, Adventures in Babysitting-caliber filmmaking, there’s nothing to stop them from going straight to the source: You can pick up a treasure trove of this stuff for a few bucks from the revolving rack at your local convenience store. (Stephanie Zacharek, Coke Adds Life — Just Not to Take Me Home Tonight, “Movieline,” 3 March 2011)

Re: But if modern audiences are really looking for sub-John Hughes, Adventures in Babysitting-caliber filmmaking, there’s nothing to stop them from going straight to the source …"

That's it, that's what they're looking for: an ecosystem of worn and repeatedly-done-before you can safely imagine participating in without a whiff of maybe-anxiety/uncertainty-causing counter or contention (genius or original voice, mostly certainly counting here), to get some kind of "I exist!" thrill to take home and cuddle. The concerned move reviewer who cares enough about what we've all got to deal with now, might soon realize "their" task is perhaps mostly to take whatever moment of demure stir to be found issuing from current movies, and while praising it -- genuinely (imagine you're dealing with terrorized, hide-prone children, and so thereby find the way) -- still relate it carefully to something a tiny bit more daring done before or elsewhere. It's how the good genius Stanley Greenspan got former autists, completely set to turtle before, to never really see, everything but a very narrow spectrum of stimuli -- a narrow spectrum, mind you, that could be expanded to eventually make at some point for an actual, deep conversation -- back to normal-level or better emotional functioning, to no longer be autistic. Otherwise, the fate may be to be tuned out entirely, except by those with already a nose for quality, or maybe not so concerned with helping. It sadly isn’t true that just exposing people to greatness will instill amongst many of the previously ignorant a desperate search for more of it. Something has to tease you first through instant recognition, and you have to be inclined to want it, for growth to happen. A whole generation can actually want otherwise, though, to actually seek to reduce themselves – and without it really being Big Brother’s doing; and not even a tower of Great Artists is going to be much able to get through to them: they’re just going to have to more or less sit this one out, and wait for a better audience.

Link: Coke Adds Life — Just Not to Take Me Home Tonight (Movieline)


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