If there's one thing we've learned from the endless amount of rom-com movies, it's that the ending can be predicted from minute number one. Whether it's a gross-out rom-com (such as Say It Isn't So), a silly one (let's say, The Bubble Boy) or an award-winning masterpiece like Amelie; it pretty much comes down to 'it doesn't look like it in the beginning but they're gonna end up together in the end'.
And that's quite alright. A murderer gets caught in the end of a thriller, the underdogs win in a sports flick and the monster gets killed in a horror movie. Well, until the sequel anyway. It's just the nature of these movies, and even a main reason to go and watch them in the first place.
With 'Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!', things are no different. We have the well-known 'guy who is in love with girl', the 'girl who is unaware of that' and the 'outsider who takes an interest in girl, and vice versa'. Which makes up for the 'actions guy 1 has to make to get girl back', which pretty much is the entire movie.
It's a formula, but that's OK. But you do have to play out this formula pretty good to make the romantic part really work. 'Amelie' did so, for many reasons, but mainly because we want her to be happy. We want her to get the guy. We feel for her, we kinda feel we are her, and life should be as good as possible for her.
I am aware that 'Tad Hamilton!' is a more light-hearted movie than Amelie, but I stand by my point that we should care for what happens to it's main characters. When that inevitable kiss comes, we want to cheer, and feel satisfied. To get that romantic feeling though, you need a couple of things. Things 'Tad Hamilton!' doesn't have.
Which brings me to my main issue as why this movie doesn't work. Let's review our story and it's three main characters. First there's Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) himself. He's a rich and handsome movie star who, for PR reasons, dates cute Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth), who won that date on a lottery. Then there's Pete (Topher Grace), longtime buddy and co-worker of Rosalee and secretly in love with her. But Pete gets serious competition from Tad when the latter finds out Rosalee truly is a wonderful and beautiful young woman.
It's the ambiguent Tad that provides the first problem. In some movies, 'the other guy' is just plain evil and into the girl for all the wrong reasons. In other movies, that other guy isn't so much evil and truly interested in the girl, but willing to give her up when he finds out his girl loves another guy. I called Tad ambiguent because he is none of the above: at first he's a cocky, drinking and smoking womanizing actor, but somehow he's shifting towards a regular guy really interested in Rosalee. We never really get why, and it looks like Tad doesn't get it either. His actions are never really clear, his reasoning never really explained.
Then there's Rosalee. In the other movies I named, there was always 'something' between the girl and the 'original guy'. In The Bubble Boy, Chloe loves the Bubble Boy but is unable (for apparent reasons) to really connect with him. The same as in Say It Isn't So, where the two main characters even end up together, but are separated (for a good reason). In 'Tad Hamilton!', however, there doesn't seem to be any affection from Rosey towards Pete, they're co-workers, friends even, but little else, and Rosey doesn't seem to mind that. So why would she want to give up an attractive and rich actor, who's willing to change his life for her, for this guy who she's been friends with?
Pete's role in the whole makes a lot more sense, as he's clearly in love with Rosey from minute one. Main problem with this part is the acting by Grace, who seems to be trying to mix a little bit of Stiller with a tad Perry, but never really gets it right. From an acting point of view, the biggest letdown of the movie.
So, thus for the romantic part: it just ain't working for me. What should be a saver then is the comedy. With 'Along Came Polly, this is what made me not totally slam the movie (although it was a waste after all), with some funny extra's doing the work. But if 'Polly' had Baldwin, Azaria, Brown and Hoffman to get the job done, and the 'Bubble Boy' (sorry to keep referring to it, I just saw it a couple of days ago) had Pappy and Pippy and a group of freak shows, 'Tad Hamilton' has literally nothing to go on.
Gary Cole, hilarious in Office Space and Dodgeball is only on screen for a minute or so, the best joke with the two agents is that they share the same name and the bar lady is only worthy to mention for her tattoos. The biggest upset for me though is the Cathy role (Ginnefer Goodwin), who supposed to be best friends with both Rosalee and Pete but contributes absolutely nothing to the film except some weird looks towards Pete and a cry out for sex towards Tad. And that's that.
All in all, 'Win a Date with Tad Hamilton' is a huge disappointed. I wasn't expecting Oscar material, I wasn't expecting a brilliant movie. I was expecting, however, some laughs and a satisfied feeling after watching it. All I got is cramp in my fingers from this review and a feeling I wasted valuable hours on a movie that isn't worth a minute from anybody's time.
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