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Overall Rating
3.61

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 DrChumley

"Meh."
3 stars

The basic plot of all romantic comedies has remained virtually unchanged since the dawn of time itself: A man and woman who are wrong for each other (but deep down are perfect for each other) are at odds, neither realizing how perfect they are together, lose each other, and eventually find each other again, leaving us with a happy ending. Those of us who enjoy romantic comedies know it well.

Rosalee (Kate Bosworth), Pete (Topher Grace), and Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin) are good friends in a rural town in West Virginia. (I say show me a town in West Virginia that isn’t rural…but that’s getting off the topic.) The three work in the local Piggly Wiggly, and lead fairly blasé lives in which highlights include long conversations about the merits of various flavors of Pringles and trips to the local movie theatre to watch romantic comedies starring the oh-so-dreamy Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel).

That all changes when Rosalee enters and wins a contest to win a date with Tad Hamilton: a PR ploy to help Hamilton polish his tarnished image and win a huge part in an upcoming film. Rosalee, who is obsessed with Tad, flies to LA, has her date, and demurely turns him down when he invites her to his home.

Tad, who is adrift in the sea of superficiality of life in Hollywood, sees something missing from his life in this pretty girl from Frasier’s Bottom, WV. He decides to move to West Virginia, buy a farm, and re-focus his life. And, of course, pursue Rosalee. This causes a clamor among the local townsfolk, and inspires jealousy in Pete, who secretly loves Rosalee. From there, the standard romantic comedy hyjinks ensue.

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton is a romantic comedy that can’t quite decide what it wants to be. It is, at its core, an uneven film.

First, the good: The cast of this film is wonderful. Their reactions to the ridiculous situations around them are natural and unforced. It never feels like they are “acting.” Duhamel is excellent in his role as the caddish-yet-good-hearted Tad. Bosworth is radiant and natural, redeeming herself nicely from the cinematic travesty Blue Crush. Even Goodwin, whose part is less significant to the story, does a wonderful turn as the off-the-wall best friend. They are all eclipsed, however, by the wonderful performance of Topher Grace. Grace has a comedic timing and delivery that simultaneously makes us laugh at him and hurt for him. He shows equal aplomb with the more serious moments of the film. Apparently, his work on his television series has allowed him to develop a timing rare in most actors that young.

Even the plot of Win a Date is lightly refreshing. While it never deviates much from the traditional romantic comedy storylines, it does do something that few romantic comedies manage to pull off: until the end of the film, we really don’t know with whom Rosalee with end up. Both choices seem to be good ones, and her quandary is understandable.
Where Win a Date falls short is in its direction and script. Neither makes it easy for the audience to suspend their disbelief in such a ridiculous set of circumstances. It is uneven, starting on rocky footing, and eventually finding its stride.

Specifically: I find it difficult to believe that a 22-year-old boy from West Virginia would end up the general manager of a grocery story. Even Rosalee and Cathy’s reactions to Tad Hamilton seem entirely out of place for someone over the age of 14.

Additionally, it seems as if the director (Robert Luketic) and the writer (Victor Levin) couldn’t agree on the style of the movie. On one hand, the film strives to be very naturalistic—trying to capture the real reactions of a person subjected to bizarre circumstances. On the other hand, they often attempt to go for a heightened reality—playing on over-used stereotypes and clichés. One particularly egregious montage—Rosalee’s limo trip to her hotel from the airport—used ridiculous cinematic devices to help us understand how Rosalee felt out of place. “Oh, I get it! A woman in a bikini standing on a street corner with a sign that says ‘I left my clothes in San Francisco’ and kids selling lemonade for $9 a glass. She must be out of her element.” Even Tad’s manager and agent, both named Richard Levy (Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes never looking more lost on screen) are little more than empty stereotypes.

But, as the comments of the college-aged bevy behind me indicated, these things matter little. Because, it is still the dream of most girls (and some boys) to marry a muscular, handsome, rich, famous movie star—or to find the kind of true love that can withstand the test of time. *gag*

It is worth going? Well, if you’re a fan of the romantic comedy genre, then yeah. It’s not a genre-defining title, but neither will it do little to harm your love of the style. If you’re not, try something else. (5 out of 10)

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8579&reviewer=311
originally posted: 02/01/04 02:51:56
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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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Jan-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Apr-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  08-Apr-2004 (PG)


Directed by
  Robert Luketic

Written by
  Victor Levin

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



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