Win a Date With Tad Hamilton Review

by Jon Popick (jpopick AT sick-boy DOT com)
January 23rd, 2004

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I have two smiles. One comes from seeing a good movie. The other comes from seeing a funny movie. Neither smiles made a special guest appearance during my screening of Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, a picture we're supposed to swallow as satire, and the filmmakers think this two-bit, hare-brained, fleabag of an idea will elevate their movie above the junk they're spoofing. Like Gigli would suddenly become entertaining if J.Lo and Ben interrupted their powerhouse acting performances for two seconds, looked at the camera and winked at the saps in the audience.

Win is Hollywood Script #8, which, as I'm sure you all know, is the story of a girl relentlessly pursuing romance with a guy who is way out of her league, only to have a sudden, last-reel epiphany that the real man of her dreams is the shy boy she's been best friends with her entire life. In this version, the girl is Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth, Wonderland), a West Virginia supermarket checkout clerk who, along with best friend Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin, Mona Lisa Smile), likes to make dolphin noises whenever seeing photographs of or movies containing feature-film heartthrob Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel, TV's Las Vegas).

The situation is barely tolerated by Pete (Goodwin's Mona Lisa Smile co-star Topher Grace), who is both the girls' best friend and their boss down at the Piggly Wiggly. He's had a crush on Rosalee his entire life and is on the verge of working up the nerve to possibly think about letting her know how he feels. Before he's able to sputter out the embarrassing words, Rosalee wins a contest that whisks her to Los Angeles for a dinner date with Tad, whose people (Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes - a fully hetero pair if I've ever seen one) have concocted said contest in a last-ditch effort to soften the actor's James Dean-ish reputation for fast cars and fast women.

Things really get gummed up for Pete when Tad decides to pursue a relationship with Rosalee after the date. Are his feelings genuine, or is he just using her to re-shape his image? Hope you're not the type who likes answers to questions, because you won't be getting one here, as Win hurtles toward its inevitable conclusion (the same exact one it mocks in its opening scene, by the way).

Director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) and television sitcom writer Victor Levin shallowly play up the differences between big city and hayseed town living (Oh my god! You mean people in Los Angeles are different than people from Cowlick, West Virginia? Stop the goddamn presses!) and seem way more interested in making things look all pink and sun-kissed than even remotely substantial. Win is cinematic cotton candy that repeats on you before you're finished choking it down.

The only redeeming factor is Grace, who seems destined for much bigger and better things. Duhamel comes off as a lightweight version of Nate Fisher - merely teeth and pectoral muscles attached to a cell phone and convertible. Bosworth shows us how important the casting of Reese Witherspoon was to Blonde. Without Reese, that film may have been as bad as Win.

1:30 - PG-13 for sexual content, some drug references and language

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