“Everyone is Tad Hamilton to someone”
Unobtrusive would be a good word to use when describing the film Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. Is it obvious? Yes. Is it clichéd? Yes. Is it horrible? Not quite. With a few good laughs, some fun performances, and a decent soundtrack, the movie ends up being nice filler on an evening with nothing else to do. I even think it was better than Robert Luketic’s previous “chick flick” effort Legally Blonde, but then, I hated that one. With no expectations at all, mocking my sister for her taste in films, I will say I had a smile throughout. Sure most of it was due to the sheer absurdity and banality of it all, but it was a genuine smile nonetheless.
The premise is something that could be written by any marginally gifted screenwriter and pits two best friends (with the obvious sexual tension of the boy being in love with the girl) caught up in the fact that she wins said date with said movie star. Being the good Virginia girl she is, she does not allow Tad to take advantage of her in Hollywood and ends up leaving town to go home with his heart. He follows, trying to better his life full of materialism and debauchery, much to the chagrin of his manager and agent (a funny twosome of Sean Hayes and Nathan Lane). Just at the moment when our lead is about to pour his heart out to the love of his life, after she finished her story of Hollywood escapades, in comes Tad to turn his life upside-down. Rather than finally tell her how he feels, he attempts to sabotage Tad’s advances, but of course, like in all these types of films, his tries end up backfiring, bringing the two lovebirds closer together.
There are no misconceptions on how the movie will end up, who will get the girl, who will do the right thing at the right time, but despite these misgivings the journey is entertaining. Topher Grace as the lead hero, trying to win the girl of his dreams, plays the geeky good guy to perfection. When he goes to Tad’s farm, portrayed great by Josh Duhamel, (he’s really just playing himself isn’t he?), and the two go head to head chopping lumber, you can’t help but laugh. Especially when Duhamel smacks Grace at the end, and Topher feels the sting…priceless. As for the girl at the center of it all, Kate Bosworth does a good job. She has never impressed me too much, but here she plays the country-bumpkin to a T. All the innocuous language and catch phrases can definitely induce some eye rolling, but it works for the part. Even Ginnifer Goodwin and Gary Cole bring in some laughs with small roles. Cole’s attempts to talk the west coast movie biz lingo is great because you can see someone in his situation totally doing just that.
It is paint-by-numbers through and through yet finds some moments of creativity. With lines such as Grace saying he’d tear Duhamel apart with his bare hands, or vicious rhetoric, I had to chuckle. The director and screenwriter treat the townspeople nicely with their star-goggles on, unbelieving that a movie star is in their home. I guess they even throw in an homage to An Officer and a Gentlemen—I’ll take the parents’ word for that being as I have not seen the film. Would I go out of the way to check the film out again? No. However, if it is on tv or someone suggests watching it, I will have to refrain from laughing at them obscenely, walking out and never talking to them again, because in the end, I’d probably stick around and watch.
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton 4/10 | ★ ½