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Overall Rating

Awesome: 28.57%
Worth A Look32.14%
Average: 17.86%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap: 7.14%

4 reviews, 32 user ratings

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Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!
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by EricDSnider

"A surprisingly good teen romantic comedy."
4 stars

"Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" is this year's "Bring It On." Both films take a genre normally expected to suck -- in this case the teen romantic-comedy -- and skew it, cleverly mocking it while indulging in its conventions. I respect a movie that can have its cake and eat it, too, and "Win a Date" does it.

Directed by Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde"), "Win a Date" opens with three friends watching an old-fashioned romance film starring Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel), a handsome actor with the boy-next-door charm of a young Tom Hanks. As the movie reaches its melodramatic climax, the guy in the audience rolls his eyes and asks what kind of emotional cripple would find this malarkey believable. His two female friends, meanwhile, are sobbing. And the chasm between men and women grows ever-wider.

The guy is Pete Monash (Topher Grace), a 22-year-old supermarket manager in rural Frasier's Bottom, W. Va., who spends his off hour in a jovial platonic threesome with Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth) and Cathy Feely (Ginnifer Goodwin), both also Piggly-Wiggly employees. They have been friends forever, but Pete is secretly in love with Rosalee. He lacks only the courage to tell her.

Cut to Hollywood, where Tad Hamilton -- whose offscreen lifestyle is closer to Charlie Sheen than Tom Hanks -- is about to lose a major role due to his tabloid-worthy shenanigans. His manager and agent (Sean Hayes and Nathan Lane, both amusing) suggest a publicity stunt to improve his image. And so a drawing is held to choose one lucky American girl to win the titular date with the titular Tad Hamilton. That girl, of course, is Rosalee.

She is whisked to Hollywood, wined and dined, given the royal treatment, and has a pleasant time with Tad, who is fascinated to meet someone from a small town who knows who she is and what she's doing. Before you know it, he's followed her back to Frasier's Bottom to be her friend and gain some insight into her peace of mind -- frustrating Rosalee, who would rather he be her boyfriend, and frustrating Pete, who would rather he just get the hell out.

Much of the film's abundant humor is owed to the witty and accessible performances by the leads, but we will single out Topher Grace, whose years of leading "That '70s Show" have honed his skills remarkably. He has pitch-perfect delivery on every line, earning laughs even on throwaway, in-passing dialogue.

He is matched for skill by the radiant Kate Bosworth, whose role is less funny but just as enjoyable. Ginnifer Goodwin, one of the few likable characters in "Mona Lisa Smile," has ample opportunity to share her effusive wit here, and Josh Duhamel very ably satirizes the life of a Hollywood pretty-boy.

I also laughed quite a bit at Gary Cole as Rosalee's showbiz-obsessed father, and was surprised to see the skanky yet wise bartender (Kathryn Hahn) turn out to play a more important role in the film's resolution than one would expect.

What separates this film from its teen romantic-comedy brethren is that it entertains without pandering to its audience. Its parody of Hollywood is sharp enough to be funny without being so full of inside jokes that its target demographic won't get it. Its characters lie to each other, the way they usually do in these films, but the lies happen naturally and are resolved far more realistically than usual. The witty script by TV writer Victor Levin gets romantic at just the right moments, and actually succeeds at some of it: I can't remember the last romantic comedy I saw where there was EVER any suspense over which guy the girl would choose, but here, both Tad and Pete seem like worthy choices at various times. And so "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" is a swell surprise indeed.

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originally posted: 08/18/05 17:03:48
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User Comments

9/05/07 Tiffany Losco I loved it, cute, funny, corny, my kind of movie. And Topher is hott!! 5 stars
8/23/06 Joe You'll know exactly where it's going by just looking at the poster, but it has its moments. 3 stars
9/20/05 Jonathon Holmes to call this movie crap would be an insult to Micheal Bay and Hillary Duff 1 stars
1/11/05 Kristina Williams knew how it began and ended from the trailer. What's the point? 1 stars
12/25/04 Red Sox Still Suck Topher Grace is a talentless stuttering prick who ruined any chance this had 3 stars
9/13/04 Edgar I'm not american, so I wouldn't know: is people from Virginia actually retarded? 2 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt So sweet it gave me a toothache! 3 stars
7/20/04 alana it was good 5 stars
7/12/04 SF Predictable = pointless. corny flag off & tacky ending. WHAT'S THE POINT!! 1 stars
7/12/04 raquel gonzalez i loved it. topher grace is hot and is the best 5 stars
4/23/04 k started good but in the end it sucked ... how stupid. 2 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt Cute, but disappointing and not all that funny. I expected more. Would be a better rental.. 3 stars
4/11/04 re a great film 5 stars
4/07/04 yosharto guarding ur carnel treasure is kickin ass! but it would be great wif some sharting! 5 stars
4/03/04 Marilyn Westbury C'mon Collin Souter, SHE'S ALL THAT and JUST MARRIED did offend! 4 stars
4/01/04 Eschenennock Manville Fun in a light way. Cast good incl. stunning Kate Bosworth, but Angelica almost steals show 4 stars
3/07/04 Kim Hargrove I thought it was pleasant and I laughed alot! 4 stars
2/20/04 Jumpin Jacques film is saved by the likeable performance of Topher Grace 4 stars
2/17/04 Chris I really thought it was a sweet romance but not great or all that oringal. 4 stars
2/04/04 Tracy Reese Horrible script, don't waste your time 1 stars
2/02/04 sara mcque SOOO GOOD....i cried 5 stars
2/01/04 kira AWESOME MOVIE- funny moments and sooo cute! 5 stars
1/27/04 b awesome movie, hottest guys 5 stars
1/27/04 stacey Davis I love Josh Duhamel he is so gorgeous and he is a great actor 5 stars
1/27/04 Noreen Smells I loved it 5 stars
1/26/04 becky evans 10 out 10! awesome chick flick!!!! 5 stars
1/26/04 ellie kotapish when i saw tad take his shirt off my heart beat soo fast! 5 stars
1/26/04 Kim Olson I think it is the best movie of 2004 5 stars
1/26/04 Crystal Graham It was the best movie I have seen and Josh Duhamel was hot in it!!! 5 stars
1/26/04 Callie it was sooo cute!! 5 stars
1/26/04 Colleen great movie 5 stars
1/22/04 Stevemd Cute---- 4 stars
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  23-Jan-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Apr-2004


  08-Apr-2004 (PG)

Directed by
  Robert Luketic

Written by
  Victor Levin

  Kate Bosworth
  Josh Duhamel
  Topher Grace
  Gary Cole
  Ginnifer Goodwin
  Kathryn Hahn

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