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Win A Date With Tad Hamilton (PG)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None listed

THE term ‘chick flick’ has seldom applied so rigidly to a film as formulaic as Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, which really ought to come with a warning sign for any unsuspecting boyfriend who gets dragged along the multiplex.

Directed by Robert Luketic, the man responsible for the equally saccharine-heavy Legally Blonde, the film is an unashamedly sentimental fantasy flick which remains as predictable as they come, but which is only saved from total mediocrity by the enthusiasm of its performers.

The rapidly-emerging Kate Bosworth stars as sweet West Virginian grocery clerk, Rosalee Futch, who is over the moon when she wins a competition to have a date with the world-famous movie star, Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel), an inevitably good-looking, but self-obsessed celebrity.

Jetting off to Hollywood for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Rosalee is stunned to find that her innocent charm rubs off on Hamilton, who becomes instantly smitten.

But when the actor turns up at her home-town, determined to make a go of things, it is left to Topher Grace’s love-struck friend and boss, Pete, to come to terms with his own feelings for Rosalee and save her from obvious heartbreak.

The ensuing dilemma forces home-grown Rosie to choose between a lifestyle of the rich and famous and small town respectability with nice guy Pete, and you can pretty much guess the outcome.

What saves Win A Date With Tad Hamilton from being a total write-off, however, is the quality of its performances, which serve to mask some of the film’s more glaring shortcomings.

Bosworth, who has previously appeared in teen surf flick, Blue Crush, and the far more memorable Rules of Attraction, displays just enough kooky/ditsy charm to prevent her from becoming annoying (even if her pet names for everything become irksome), and briefly hints at the ability to carry something bigger, while Duhamel, as Hamilton, opts to play to his good looks, and comes over quite appealing (if lightweight), as a result.

But it is the hopelessly deadpan Grace who serves as the film’s biggest saving grace, finally emerging from the shadow of That 70s Show co-star, Ashton Kutcher, to provide viewers with someone worth rooting for, in spite of the insipid material.

By rising above the limitations of his dialogue, and screen-time, Grace virtually single-handedly saves the film from drifting into a sugar-coated mess.

Support players, Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes (of Will & Grace fame), also contribute a neat double-act, as Hamilton’s agents, even though the script refuses to allow them the time to be as funny as their pairing would suggest.

Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, while certainly a hum-drum affair, which is neither as funny, nor as romantic, as it thinks it is, remains inoffensive enough for anyone who stumbles upon it - if only for the chance to see a couple of future stars in the making.

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