Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! Review
For Rosalee (Kate Bosworth) and Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin), both working the supermarket checkout in Frasersbottom, West Virginia, there’s one film star who’s hotter than hot. And that’s Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel). However Tad is desperate to clean up his image after being found drunk in charge of a car and a hooker. So his agent and manager (Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes) set up a competition with the prize, to win a date with Tad. Rosalee wins and flies off to Hollywood to spend an evening with her idol. But Tad is smitten with her and follows her back to West Virginia, much to the disgust of Rosalee’s boss and platonic friend Pete (Topher Grace)…
As with any other genre, it’s not so much the conventions of a romantic comedy but what you do with them. We all know how it’s going to end – the pleasure of watching a good romantic comedy is in how we get there, what obstacles the screenwriter (Victor Levin) puts in the way, and also the quality of wit and repartee between the two would-be lovers. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! isn’t especially witty or funny. In fact, it’s full of jokes that misfire due to poor timing. Not to mention those that weren’t very amusing in the first place, such as Tad’s agent and manager having the same name. You can sense a more-than-capable comedian like Nathan Lane trying his best and being defeated by the material.
Yet, somewhere around the middle of the movie, you sense that something out of the ordinary might happen. For a while, you sense that Hollywood phoney Tad may just have seen the error of his ways and genuinely be in love with Rosalee. And Pete, who we sense really loves Rosalee, is hardly sympathetic, in fact comes over like a stalker. But you sense that, having opened up a potentially more interesting movie, the scriptwriter backs away, resorting to a contrived bit of business to resolve the plot the way it should be.
On the surface, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is a good-looking movie, with Bosworth and Duhamel both being certainly easy on the eye. Director Robert Luketic (whose previous film was Legally Blonde) and DP Peter Lyons Collister make West Virginia look warm and inviting, Hollywood bright and hard, a hardly original visual contrast. But in the end, despite hints of some more interesting angles, this is just another romantic comedy.