Boredom can lead a person to do many things he/she might not do if he/she was not bored. This, in a nutshell, is why I went to see Win a Date With Tad Hamilton...I was just bored. And since I'm trying to give everything a shot this year, including chick flicks, I figured I could check this out. I realized after watching this movie that I couldn't have possibly been as bored as I thought I was, because there are about a trillion and nine better ways to spend 95 minutes than going to this innane movie.
This is a movie about a couple of small-town girls Rosalee and Cathy (Bosworth and Goodwin) who are obsessed with this heartthrob actor Tad Hamilton (Duhamel). And in the middle of this obsession is good ol' Pete (Grace) the "friend" who does everything for the girls, especially Rosalee, and gets next to nothing in return. We all know guys like this, don't we? Anyway, in Hollywood is Tad Hamilton, being the prototypical "bad boy" actor who gets a string of bad press after a late-night joy ride, drinking and driving with a hot chick at his side. So, his agent and his manager (Lane and Hayes) who, in a nice comedic touch, are both named Richard Levy, decide to get some good PR for Hamilton. And the Win a Date With Tad Hamilton contest arises out of this. Rosalee wins, meets Tad, sparks fly, Pete is jealous, Tad comes to her small town and blah blah blah. I really don't need to tell you any more, do I? We've seen all this before, yes yes?
I'll get the good news out of the way, since there really isn't much here. There are some nice inside-joke bits that are pretty funny if you follow the movie industry. Rosalee's dad, played nicely by Gary Cole, starts surfing the Variety website, talking about domestic B.O. grosses, and even wearing a Project Greenlight t-shirt later on. None of this is side-splitting humor, but it's just funny to see in this small town, far away from Hollywood. Topher Grace gives a pretty good performance here, showing nice range, mixing elements of comedy and drama nicely. But the only other good performances come in some of the smallest roles. Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes are pretty funny as the Richard Levy's and Kathryn Hahn gives a great performance as Angelica, a bartender who pines for Pete. The movie doesn't really call to have more of any of these characters in the movie, but it's too bad since they give the best performances.
Speaking of acting, the rest of it pretty much just sucked. New-comer Josh Duhamel just looks like a deer in headlights as Tad Hamilton. But what can you really expect from someone who's best known for being on the soap opera All My Children. He tries to fool us into thinking that he's just acting like a bad actor, when in reality, yeah, he's just a bad actor. Ginnifer Goodwin is just way out there as Rosalee's friend Cathy. It seems she confused going over the top with range of emotions, and it got irritating. I guess Kate Bosworth's performance didn't really "suck." She does a pretty good job with what she's given, playing the star-struck check-out girl nicely. But I just didn't like how the screenplay characterized her.
Speaking of the screenplay, yeah, you guessed it: it sucked. While I'll give it some points for things mentioned earlier, as well as for a nice little bit about people's different smiles, the rest of it felt like it was written by the guidance of Writing Romantic Comedies for Dummies, if such a book existed. There is next to zero originality here and everything is incredibly dumbed-down so the younger audiences will flock to it. The characters are pretty bland, especially Rosalee, and it is very predictable and formulaic, giving the director barely anything to work with.
Speaking of the directing...well, you know the theme of this review already. Robert Luketic took too much of the ditzy side of his first big movie, Legally Blonde, and not nearly enough of the smart side. And I really didn't like how he made the incredibly gorgeous Bosworth look so much less attractive, just because she was a small-town girl. He could've dulled her down a little bit and it would've been acceptable, but I think it went a little too far.
Win a Date With Tad Hamilton is a movie about...oh who cares. You've seen this type of story a trillion and nine times before, but they did nothing to improve on it or even make it stick out from the pack. Even the girl I saw this movie with thought it was pretty bad. Chicks not liking chick flicks? If that's not a warning sign, then I don't know what is...
Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! is out January 23, 2004.