WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON!
** (out of 5)
January 23, 2004
Kate Bosworth as ROSALEE FUTCH
Josh Duhamel as TAD HAMILTON
Topher Grace as PETE MONASH
Ginnifer Goodwin as CATHY FEELY
Gary Cole as MR. FUTCH
Nathan Lane as RICHARD LEVY
Sean Hayes as RICHARD LEVY
Directed by: Robert Luketic
BY KEVIN CARR
This is the kind of movie that girls are going to love and guys are going to hate. On the surface, it is a sweet romantic comedy. However, deep down in the plot, it is going to touch a seed of rejection in most guys that will cause them to pull their hair out.
If you believe that American cinema is the mythology of the modern age, then surely the great prophet Harry Burns from “When Harry Met Sally” speaks the truth when he says that men cannot be friends with women without wanting to have sex with them. The problem many of us guys face is that rarely do the women want to have sex with us.
Rosalee (Kate Bosworth) is a small town girl from West Virginia who has a crush on movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel). Pete (Topher Grace) is her manager at the local Piggly-Wiggly who has been carrying a torch for Rosalee since grade school. When Rosalee enters an online contest to win a date with Tad Hamilton, she never thought she’d come out on top. But she does.
Of course, this contest is a publicity stunt pulled off by Tad’s agent and manager (Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes) to improve his image. But when Tad meets Rosalee, he is smitten and pursues her back to her home town of Fraziers Bottom, WV. Pete now not only has to contend with Rosalee’s inability to see his “great love” for her, but now he is in competition with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Let’s have a show of hands out there… How many guys have faced this situation before? One of your best friends in junior high, high school or college is a girl. But not just any girl. She is the object of your affection. The love of your life. Only she doesn’t know that. While she enjoys your company and will always use you as a shoulder to cry on, she hasn’t got the foggiest notion that you like her.
When you finally do get up the nerve to tell her about your feelings, kiss her or confess your undying love, what happens?
I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen. She doesn’t leave her movie star boyfriend to be with you. Heck, she doesn’t even leave her half-drunk, mildly attractive jerk boyfriend for you. What happens is that you get the “I just want to be friends” speech. We all know that one, don’t we?
I understand that romantic comedies and love stories take a certain amount of accepting situations that don’t exist in reality. After all, if you take the quintessential romantic comedy “Pretty Woman” as an example, I doubt there are many Fortune 500 CEOs that pick up hookers on Hollywood Blvd., spend a week with them and then run off together.
The problem with “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton” is that it requires more than just setting reality aside for a while. It mocks reality. And it mocks the standard experience that just about every red-blooded American guy has gone through.
The one redeeming quality of “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton” is that it knows itself. It knows that it’s just throwing formula at the audience. And it knows that the girls are just going to get weak in the knees when they watch it. They wink and nod to the audience at the beginning of the film when Rosalee, Pete and Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin) are watching one of Tad’s movies, and Pete riffs about the silliness of the romance formula.
Ginnifer Goodwin is swept under the rug in this film, and this isn’t the first time she’s stolen the show. In last year’s “Mona Lisa Smile,” Goodwin out-acted Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Julia Roberts. It’s too bad that Goodwin went to waste in a film that was so clearly a vehicle for Kate Bosworth.
Bosworth herself is a doll. She is adorable. She’s a beautiful woman. But she’s also a skeleton. I haven’t seen “Blue Crush,” but I’ve seen pictures. I’m assuming that her agent or manager got on her case because there was actually some shape to her in a bikini, and she went overboard with one of those ice cubes and sunflower seeds diets.
It’s scary how thin the actresses are getting these days. I just couldn’t stop staring at Bosworth’s chest. I’m not talking about staring at her breasts. I couldn’t help but stare at her breastbone poking out of her flesh. There’s more shape in her shoulder blade protruding from her back than her hips. Her costar Ginnifer Goodwin looks great, but I can’t shake the feeling that she was cast as the size 4 fat girl.
“Win a Date with Tad Hamilton” is going to cause the girls to melt, but it’s really gonna stick in the crawl of the guys. Instead of leaving the theater with a warm and fuzzy feeling, I left upset and annoyed. (Yeah, I know it’s an emotion knee-jerk response from my own experiences, but that didn’t make me like the movie any more than I did.)