Win a Date With Tad Hamilton Review

by Steve Rhodes (Steve DOT Rhodes AT InternetReviews DOT com)
January 16th, 2004

A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): ***

WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON!, by Robert Luketic, the director of the sparklingly original LEGALLY BLONDE but not its miserable sequel, is a wonderfully sweet romantic comedy. When we first meet actor Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel), he's gotten his mug unflatteringly plastered on the front page of the tabloids. Currently unemployed, Tad, the star of ACEY DEUCEY and the remake of THE GRAPES OF WRATH, needs to repair his boy-next-door image. His agent (Nathan Lane) points out that he's not unemployed like a dock worker but that he's just between million dollar paychecks. The agent's solution is a nationwide contest to win a date with Tad, every girl's dream guy.

A nice but shallow fellow, Tad likes to fall back on his old movies for lines to use in conversation. As a gesture of friendliness, he tries to speak Spanish to one of his maids, but she corrects him, pointing out that she is Albanian and that he has his maids confused.

Meanwhile in Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store, two cashiers, Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth) and Cathy Feely (Ginnifer Goodwin), are dreaming about the contest. You'll probably remember Bosworth as the charismatic star of BLUE CRUSH, but you may not know Goodwin's name. Playing a wallflower, Goodwin gave the only memorable and genuine performance in MONA LISA SMILE. Rosalee is a giggly and supremely likeable character who has innocence written all over her blonde ponytail. In contrast, her funny friend Cathy is a salty lass who speaks like she has been reading way too many bodice-rippers. Also at the store is Pete Monash (Topher Grace), the store's award winning manager. Rosalee's lifelong friend, he worships the ground she walks on but is way too shy to confess his love.

Rosalee wins the contest and has a quick but uneventful date with Tad in Hollywood. "Doesn't it hurt smiling like that all of the time?" she asks him during their photo op disguised as a dinner date. The trip out west gives the movie some delicious opportunities to poke fun at California. Among several great visuals are a kids' $9 lemonade stand and a dog safely strapped into a child's car seat.

Up until this point, the script has mined humorous but completely predictable ground. Once Rosalee leaves LaLaLand, the story takes a few nicely surprising turns. The rest of the picture occurs back in rural West Virginia on Rosalee's turf, where Tad shows up and wants to have her "goodness" rub off on him. Surprisingly, he actually appears sincere. But could he really be?

Speaking of turf, Pete tries to pick a turf war with Tad, but, being a 130-pound weakling, he keeps coming off second best to the Hollywood hunk. "He's from Malibu, California," Pete reminds Rosalee disgustedly. "The only thing they grow there are breasts."

On the other hand, Rosalee's father (Gary Cole) is more than happy to have his daughter date the rich and famous. When Tad picks her up for a date to the local theater, her dad tells him with warm smile, "Have her home by dawn -- and no cocaine."

There are a few good smaller parts, but none better than Angelica (Kathryn Hahn), a friendly bartender who loves Pete just like he loves Rosalee. She gives him good advice at key moments, although what she really wants to give him is a big kiss. I'll give you some advice. If you want a feel-good movie that'll charm you and make you laugh, this is it.

WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON! runs 1:35. The film is rated PG-13 for "sexual content, some drug references and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.

The film opens nationwide in the United States on Friday, January 23, 2004. In the Silicon Valley, it will be showing at the AMC and the Century theaters.
Email: [email protected]

Want free reviews and weekly movie and video recommendations via Email? Just send me a letter with the word "subscribe" in the subject line.

More on 'Win a Date With Tad Hamilton'...

Originally posted in the newsgroup. Copyright belongs to original author unless otherwise stated. We take no responsibilities nor do we endorse the contents of this review.