Film Shorts
“Take Me Home Tonight” is Topher Grace’s turn to do a slacker movie. He plays Matt Franklin, a 30-something college-educated guy who still lives with Mom and Dad and works at a video store at the local mall. He just can’t seem to get started with his life, though he’s obviously bright. It’s as if he’s afraid of making a mistake, so he just doesn’t try anything at all. His best buddy is Barry (Dan Fogler), another underachiever who just got fired from selling cars at the local dealership, a job that he hated, anyway. Matt’s always regretted not following up on his high school crush for Tori (Teresa Palmer), and he thinks his life might change when his high school class holds a reunion, and Tori is there. Despite the foul language being tossed around, the R rating is really for the drug use rather than an overload of nudity or sexual situations. Barry imbibes in everything available, Matt tries to impress Tori with a vintage car that’s not his, and Matt’s policeman Dad has the golden opportunity to make everyone suffer, but remarkably decides that forgiveness is more important than punishment. There’s no real spark from any of the characters except Wendy (Anna Faris), Matt’s twin sister. She deserves better than this lame copycat that should go to DVD quickly.
“I Am Number Four” will also go to DVD quickly, mainly because of the somewhat obscure cast: Alex Pettyfer is the lead (he’s also the lead in “Beastly,” so he’s quickly overcoming his obscurity) in a sci-fi/romance that tries to capitalize on the extreme recent popularity of teens with special powers. John (Pettyfer) and Henri (Timothy Olyphant) are human-looking but are really from another planet. They’re among the last of their breed, and being relentlessly pursued by the aliens who invaded their world and are determined to wipe out even the escaped remnant. We begin with the merciless elimination of Numbers One, Two, and Three, and John is Number Four. Earthlings, of course, remain oblivious to all this interplanetary drama in their midst. Henri, John’s “protector,” tries to keep them moving, constantly changing locales and schools, but when they land in a small town in Ohio , and John meets Sarah (Dianna Agron), he suddenly decides he wants to quit running. Even while he’s trying to learn how to manage his superpowers, the pursuers literally sniff him out, and fortunately another of his kind, Number Six (the ubiquitous Teresa Palmer) arrives to help do battle, but in between we have silly high school bullying, the poignant hesitancy of adolescents attracted to each other, and good old teen angst. But though the adults will stay away from this one in droves, there really are some pretty good special effects, and this very-adult reviewer hesitantly predicts that Dianna Agron will soon land some more substantial roles.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Co-Pastor, United Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas