Rosalee Almost makes a Futch Up
The best thing about "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" is that it reminded me of the love triangle romantic comedies which Doris Day once starred in. In fact if this had been made 40 years earlier it would probably have starred Doris Day alongside two handsome hollywood stars. Sadly it wasn't and to be quite frank "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" ends up a run of the mill, almost lazy romantic comedy aimed at the teen market. Its problem doesn't so much lie in the casting, all 3 of the main stars have their plus points but it is in the writing because there is little which isn't obvious in this tale of love which sort of floats along. It's not like "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" is a bad movie, but it has nothing to make it stand out in such a busy genre.
Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth - Remember the Titans) is a small town girl, she works in the local grocery store, hangs out with her friends from childhood and fantacizes about movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel - Ramona and Beezus). But her fantacies become real when she enters and wins a competition to win a date with Tad Hamilton, an idea concocted by his agent and manager who think a bit of good publicity is what he needs after his bad boy antics make front page news. But when Tad meets Rosalee there is something about her innocence which takes him by surprise, so much so he leaves the city and heads to her back water town to not only get close to her but also get his priorities in order, which is a shame for her best friend Pete (Topher Grace - Mona Lisa Smile) who has secretly been in love with Rosalee for as long as he can remember.
Like with so many modern and some old romantic comedies there is little which will surprise you about the storyline to "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!". Within the first 15 minutes the entire movie is set up from Pete being the best friend with a crush through to bad boy movie star Tad realising he really likes Rosalee. And it plays out in exactly the way you imagine from Pete becoming jealous of Tad, embarissingly trying to sabotage their relationship and so on before you get the obligatory nice ending. As I said the entire story plays out in the manner in which you expect.
This lack of originality wouldn't be so bad if we actually felt some sort of connection to the characters in this love triangle but the closest we get to a connection is expectedly feeling sorry for Pete because he is a nice guy who can't catch a break. As for Rosalee and Tad well there is no connection at all and as most of the movie ends up focussing on them and Tad's inability to be anything but a movie star it becomes a little dull. It wouldn't be so bad if at the same time as giving us some romantic comedy we also got some movie industry satire, well this is a movie about a bad boy movie star, but there is none of that what so ever, a seriously missed opportunity for some decent laughs.
The irony of all this is that "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" is in fact well cast, it's just the actual characters which aren't always that well written. Whilst the focus maybe on Rosalee and Tad the star of the movie for me is Topher Grace whose self depreciating humour scores the most laughs and to be honest as a nice guy is just on the right side of being a sap. As for Rosalee and Tad well both Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel have the looks you expect, there is a naive homeliness about Rosalee whilst Tad is all about the big smile and white teeth. Yet the characters end up so poorly written that neither Bosworth or Duhamel get a chance to show what they can do.
What this all boils down to is that "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" is only on par with so many other romantic comedies made with the teen market in mind. But it does feel a little lazy in being so obvious and the lack of movie industry satire is a missed opportunity to give it something to make it stand out.