|Win a Date with Tad Hamilton (2004)
Starring: Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Sean Hayes, Nathan Lane
Director: Robert Luketic
“Win a Date with Tad Hamilton” is 1950s at heart but 2004 in look and style, placing the goody-goody antics of a Doris Day/Rock Hudson relationship in the middle of everyone’s ideal romantic setting, West Virginia.
Mega-blockbuster screen hunk Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) isn’t the perfect “boy next door” that his film roles portray him to be. After a tabloid catches him red-handed drinking and driving around Hollywood, his manager (Nathan Lane) and his agent (Sean Hayes), hoping to repair Tad’s damaged rep, plan a gimmicky contest that sends one lucky girl on a dream date with the popular star.
Rosalee (Kate Bosworth), a West Virginian hometown kind of girl, wins the contest and rushes off to Hollywood without the approval of her Piggy Wiggly store manager and best friend Pete (Topher Grace), who has secretly been in love with her but is too afraid to let her know. Pete assumes everything is back to normal once Rosalee returns from her trip, but Tad soon makes a surprise visit to the small town claiming to love Rosalee. Pete is then forced to do everything he can to earn Rosalee’s affection, but who could beat a guy like Tad?
“Win a Date” turned out to be sappier than I had imagined it would be, but there is still plenty of high-quality humor. The film doesn’t play out like most recent films of this nature, and instead is much sweeter and more simplistic. Both stars do a wonderful job of portraying their respective characters, but it’s Grace’s performance that steals the film, using the same down-to-earth sarcasm that he’s perfected on TV’s “That 70’s Show” in his feeble and seemingly unsuccessful plan to win Rosalee’s heart.
So while “Win a Date” may not have been the comedy I expected, its charm and Grace’s sarcasm won me over in the end. The plot is stretched pretty thin in some points, not unlike a typical Doris Day film, but it is still a highly entertaining comedy in a month that offers very few appealing options at the theater.