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Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton
Starring Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel,
Nathan Lane, Sean Hayes, Ginnifer Goodwin

Rated PG-13 - for sexual content, some drug references and language
Reviewed by: Jim
Release Date: January 23, 2004 Released by: DreamWorks SKG

The title of Robert Luketic's new picture, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!, aims to please the younger following of "American Idol" and "Joe Millionaire." Though his production team nicely caters to young girls and is propelled by a pop-rock soundtrack, this is much more generic and contrived than Legally Blond, also by Luketic, featuring a very appealing Reese Witherspoon.

This dated comedy has the kind of situations done better in films like She's All That and someone like John Hughes might have staged more authentic laughs. Screenwriter Victor Levin doesn't provide a premise with a lot of promise. Josh Duhamel of TV's "Vegas" is the titular Tad, a silver screen heart-throb in the vein of a Johnny Depp. But his latest escapades in the tabloids shed his good-guy image and his agent and manager (Nathan Lane & Sean Hayes), try to get him back in good graces with the media and public.

In a charity fund-raiser a lucky person gets to spend a day with the handsome famous star. Luketic's female lead is Kate Bosworth who seems to be posturing and posing like Witherspoon of five years ago. The background of her West Virginia existence isn't very important it seems, just that her Rosalee Futch, a bag/check clerk at Piggly Wigglys doesn't seem to notice the secret desires of her manager, Pete Monash, played by the likeably preppie Topher Grace (Mona Lisa Smile).

Part of the problem involves the interplay of these three headliners, after Rosalee is whisked to Hollywood, where her dreamboat turns out not to be that great as she rides in a limo and has dinner. Little character sympathy comes from what the pretty Bosworth, Grace, and Duhamel can do.

Plenty of giggles come from the way the facade of real life is enacted as Rosalee is tongue-tied and Hayes' goofy manager blunders. Lane does his best to get through this breezy, very lightweight confection with his rote line readings at the expense of his unconfident, rich client. Coming off better in lesser roles are Ginnifer Goodwin (Mona Lisa Smiles) as Rosalee's frank best friend and Gary Cole as Rosalee's dad who passes himself off as a Hollywood insider. And Kathryn Hahn appears like a youthful verison of Jennifer Coolidge in the part of Angelica, a tattooed bartender who wises Pete up to his repressed situation.

Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! as its exclamation point indicates doesn't take its matters of the heart as serious. Grace is the one that has the most to overcome and it's hard to believe that Pete wouldn't have had another significant relationship by this time as he appears on a solid career path by going off to college. Bosworth is perky at times and Duhamel hints at Tad's chance at doing more than winning over Rosalee. But, in the end it is a Hollywood make over that doesn't have a way with romance.

 
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