Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is only 90 minutes long. This is the average span for a full-length feature film, possibly even on the short side of things. But making an audience sit through those 90 minutes of Tad Hamilton! is an atrocity.
Tad Hamilton! is yet another money-making machine engineered by Hollywood to stuff cash into the wallets of executives and propel the fame of small screen actors — all at the expense of the viewers. Yet again, the storyline, done as recently as 2002 with Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama, of the celebrity vs. small town boy in the contest of love, surfaces on the silver screen, but this time with poor effects.
The script is tiring: when Rosalee (Kate Bosworth), a small-town girl, wins a date with a decadent celebrity Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel), their encounter changes him, and he tries to win her love. Left in the small town is Rosalee’s best friend, Pete (Topher Grace), who is secretly in love with Rosie. An emotional battle rages, but the script is flawed. No one, not even the supposedly self-motivated celebrity, is a bad character.
The film wobbles between polar opposites — the desire to teach a lesson about the decline in celebrity morality and the desire to perpetuate the good image of Hollywood. Hamilton! fails miserably at both, since one positively excludes the other.
In the end, while the obvious ending is achieved, the vilified Tad, who ends up being less selfish than the movie tries to portray him, is essentially weaseled out of the relationship he deserves.
In addition to the clichÃ© plot, what tries to be a romantic comedy becomes a bland blend of semi-amusing events. Genuine laughter comes sporadically, with only a few lines uttered by Grace and supporting actress Ginnifer Goodwin. The smart guy type, played by Grace on That ’70s Show, is brought to life on the big screen, but, to the dismay of the TV series fans, nowhere near to the extent of the quality of the FOX series.
Grace’s comical performance is the only bearable thing to witness in the flick. Neither Bosworth nor Duhamel deliver anything above what is expected of them. Each play their part without conviction, simply reciting lines they have memorized. Not even comedy stars Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes provide laughs; they simply fulfill the stereotypes of corrupt Hollywood agents.
Unfortunately for Grace, his film goes up against TV co-star Ashton Kutcher’s The Butterfly Effect. With the unlikely aim of overpowering the slightly more appealing Kutcher flick, Tad Hamilton! has nothing going for it — not even the money it is supposed to bring in.
One good thing will come from the movie. With the anticipated major box office flop of this film, the genre exploiting the back-to-basics Cinderella story may finally reach its end.
Unfortunately, Hollywood producers who never tire of making even the slightest profit from the worst of films, will never stop regurgitating what works. And, apparently, what works is sticking young, attractive actors in a romantic comedy, no matter how overused or underwritten or unfunny it may be.