Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! Movie Review
The latest romantic comedy uses the same formula, a marginally-different plot and some new faces, but Win a Date with Tad Hamilton does a decent job of being halfway entertaining. Though guaranteed to have a sappy and predictable ending - the one here is especially bad - the movie has its moments and a likeable cast.
For most romantic comedies, the story really doesn't matter, but it does a little here, as Kate Bosworth stars as Rosalee, a 22-year old girl who wins a date with Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel), a big-time Hollywood actor looking to resurrect his image as a good boy after an incident that labels him as quite the opposite. Of course, after the awkward date, Tad realizes there was something special in Rosalee and heads out east to West Virginia where she lives, in hopes of starting some kind of a relationship. Rosalee accepts, much to the spite of Pete (Topher Grace), her manager, best friend and long-time secret admirer. You can probably guess how everything ends up, but there is no need to state the obvious anyway.
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton succeeds in that it has managed to gather up a young and energetic cast that fit their characters well and compliment the script. Bosworth, in the lead, is entertaining to watch, especially in the early goings when she is in the more uncomfortable stages of the relationship with Tad. Grace, who is arguable the funniest of the talented cast on Fox's "That 70's Show," brings some of his wit to the movie, though it is much more muted than on television. Though his character could have been ironed out a bit, I related to Pete because of the similar sense of humor. Grace is not used to his full potential, but he is still enjoyable here. As for Duhamel, he plays Tad Hamilton fairly flawlessly. The character of Tad is the only one fully fleshed out, and while there are a few times when things could have been clearing regarding the intentions of his character, he seems to be the one that is most believable.
The script, while not over-the-top funny, works in that it is rather mild, cute and simple. Though it has a good plot to work with, it doesn't completely capitalize on some good chances to blow the audience away; on the other hand, it is consistently straightforward and there is an appeal to such an approach. It would have been nice for things to be a bit funnier, but the film is never boring, either.
The one big problem with Win a Date with Tad Hamilton is that the chemistry between Rosalee and Pete, and hence Bosworth and Grace, is lacking. The problem lies not in the actors as much as in the script, which really fails to ever develop the mutual interest between the two characters. The movie goes in depth to show Pete's eternal love for Rosalee, but the same cannot be said about Rosalee to Pete. The idea in the story is that Bosworth just doesn't realize that she is in love with her best friend - and that he is in love with her - but the movie simply fails to show them together enough to even indicate a beyond-friends mentality. When the final scene comes along, it never completely satisfied me that Bosworth really loved the guy she is kissing - oops, there I go giving away the ending! Are you shocked? No, of course not.
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton is a fun little movie that works well at being simple. It never is hilarious, nor is it especially emotional, but it does have a fine quality about it that makes it enjoyable. Some things could have been done better, but as is, it makes for a nice rental.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.