You remember the '80s, right? So, like, totally kitschy! Don't worry, if you're drawing a blank regarding the decade's fashion faux pas---or are simply too young to have experienced these stylistic crimes---this throwback comedy will remind you ad infinitum of the era's eyesores. The clothes are new-wave angular, the 'dos are Aqua Net poufy or Human League peekaboo, and all those guys sporting popped-collar polo shirts resemble James Spader circa Less than Zero; a subtitle declaring that it's 1988 seems redundant even before "The Safety Dance" blasts over the soundtrack. Not coincidentally, the film's plot carbon-dates to around that same year: Trying to impress the unattainable blond of his dreams (Palmer), a dorky loser (Grace) fakes being a banking whiz during a predictably out-of-control house party.
It's the old transformative wild-and-crazy-night chestnut, complete with stolen cars, goofy coke binges and mondo Reagan-era stereotypes. Despite director Michael Dowse thoroughly raiding the Betamaxed back catalog of '80s teen flicks, it's hard to tell whether he's pandering to fortysomething nostalgia or trying to give a new generation their own retrofitted Sixteen Candles. Either way, the movie misses the Hughes sensitive-raunch sweet spot, though a game supporting cast hits bull's-eyes on lesser targets. Hyperkinetic sidekick Dan Fogler successfully channels the ghosts of gonzo girthful comedians past; Anna Faris's upwardly mobile sister does tragicomic desperation so gracefully, you wish she weren't relegated to the periphery. They're both worth their weight in neon Nagel prints.
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