Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! Review
By Shawn McKenzie 01/23/2004
I applaud it when TV actors try to break into movies while their hit shows are still on the air. It’s kind of like getting a job before you graduate from college. While I see some potential in the two TV actors in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, I hope they do try again a few more times before their TV shows end.
Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth) is a grocery clerk at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store in rural Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia. Her big dream is to meet her favorite movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) someday. Her best friend and Piggly Wiggly co-worker, Cathy Feely (Ginnifer Goodwin), wants Tad too, but knows how much Rosie (that’s what everyone seems to call her) wants the actor, so she would never get in her way. Their other friend and manager of the Piggly Wiggly, Pete Monash (Topher Grace), sees her crush a little differently. First, he thinks Rosie and Cathy’s cooing over Tad is goofy, and second, he is secretly in love with Rosie. This is something that upsets Angelica (Kathryn Hahn), a bartender at Lil’ Dickens pub, a place where they all hang out, because she is not-so secretly in love with Pete. Rosie’s chance to meet Tad might be more possible than she thought when she discovers a “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton” contest online. Tad’s agent, Richard Levy (Nathan Lane), and his manager, also named Richard Levy (Sean Hayes), set up the contest to clean up Tad’s bad-boy image. He had become associated with sappy nice-guy chick flicks (the kinds that make Pete sick and Rosie and Cathy swoon), but his partying has been caught by the tabloids, and the Richards needed to do some serious spin control. Rosie wins the contest, and Pete is upset about it obviously, because he was hoping to talk her into following him to Richmond, where he is going to college. He tries to warn Rosie not to let Tad take her “carnal treasure” with smooth lines. She is flown to Hollywood, and she goes on her date with Tad, where he does try some smooth lines. When she shoots him down, it makes Tad want her even more. She goes back to Fraziers Bottom, and he follows her not long after. They go on a few more dates, and start falling in love. Rosie’s dad, Henry (Gary Cole), likes Tad, and tries to impress him with his “insider knowledge” of Hollywood. Eventually, Tad buys a farm there, and Pete thinks he might be able to expose the actor’s shortcomings by “showing him the ropes.” Tad turns out to be a surprisingly good farmer, much to Pete’s disappointment. When Tad gets a role in a movie he has been going after, he convinces Rosie to come with him. With time running out, Pete needs to convince Rosie that Tad doesn’t love her and that he does.
The two TV actors I am referring to are Grace and Duhamel. While Grace has had some small roles in other movies, this is his first starring role. Like his fellow “That ‘70s Show” co-star, Ashton Kutcher, I keep seeing his TV character in other roles. It helps a little that he has a modern haircut in this movie, but not much. I still see him doing the Eric Forman mugging and wisecracks. Grace shouldn’t be punished for this, so I think it will just take a matter of time (maybe he could do a drama next time.) Duhamel is a little easier. I never saw him on “All My Children,” and even though I love “Las Vegas,” it has only been on for half a season so far. That isn’t enough time for his character on that show to become ingrained into my head. Maybe all actors should start their movie careers during the first season of their hit shows. Hey Amber Tamblyn of “Joan of Arcadia,” are you listening?
Aside from Grace and Duhamel, the movie had some okay performances. Goodwin, Lane, and Hayes all stole the scenes they were in (a fellow critic at the screening cracked up at a point where Lane’s character slaps Hayes’ character.) Bosworth has yet really to wow me, but she is developing.
I do have to bring up one point about the movie that drove me nuts. It bugs me when a movie makes fun of a movie cliché, and then does that same cliché. It’s okay when that is done in Scream, because they were satirizing the cliché. I even forgave it in Love Actually (the airport scene with the stepdad and the kid going after the girl he has a crush on), but in this movie, it was lame.
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is a valiant first effort for Grace and Duhamel, but I definitely hope they don’t give up. In the meantime, I’m still watching their TV shows, both of which are favorites of mine.
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