Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!


Aaaarghh!

OK, I gotta say, maybe I’m gonna be too harsh on this half-assed romantic comedy. Oh, there aren’t two ways about it: this is crapola. But my feeling it’s absolute evil is a bit excessive.

So you got Topher Grace as Pete, 20-something manager of a Piggly Wiggly grocery store and token smart-ass nice-guy best friend character. Then you’ve got Kate Bosworth as Rosalee, check-and-bag girl at Pete’s store and great love of his young love. Of course, she isn’t aware that Pete loves her and has always loved her. Yeah right, as if guys ever just want to be friends with girls, especially girls as lovable as Rosalee… (aaarghh!)

You can see where this is going: Rosie is gonna spend the whole film pining for some pretty boy jackass, then in the end she’ll realise that her average-Joe best friend is the one. Here they blow up this gimmick further by having the jackass be a popular Hollywood actor, Tad Hamilton, whose bad boy off-screen ways inspire his management team to set up a cutesy “Win a Date with” contest to restore his wholesome boy-next-door persona. Of course it’s Rosalee who gets to date Hamilton, to Pete’s dismay…

All the ads for the film boast that it comes “from the director of Legally Blonde“, as if Robert Luketic is any kind of an auteur. Newsflash: dude’s a total hack! Sure, Legally Blonde was ridiculously enjoyable, but that was all Reese Witherspoon. Does anyone remember that movie for the filmmaking? Here we can see what Luketic is really (in)capable of when he doesn’t have an irresistible leading lady – Kate Bosworth is hot enough, but she doesn’t have the spunk of a Reese or a Kirsten or whoever.

So we get 90 minutes of lame pop music cues, unfunny homo comic relief from Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes (playing Tad Hamilton’s agents) and a love triangle with absolutely no resonance or surprises. The only reason I bothered with the flick is for Topher Grace, who’s so endearing and hilarious on That 70s Show, but this movie’s writers couldn’t even cut it for a TV sitcom. Seriously, where are the laughs? You can sorta kinda see the film reaching for gags here and there, but it’s all so pathetic and witless… Aaaarghh!

The film dies as soon as Josh Duhamel comes on screen. He’s playing the title character, supposedly a huge movie star who makes girls everywhere wet their undies, but the guy is an utter bore! Duhamel’s got no charisma and even less personality, and we’re supposed to buy him as every woman’s dream guy?

Then the plot itself is D.O.A. We know from the get-go that Pete loves Rosie and that even though she thinks she loves this Tad, eventually she’ll realise that her gawky lifelong friend is the one for her. How are we supposed to give a squirt about the Rosalee-Tad sappy-gooey scenes (which are horribly written and played anyway) when we know all along this isn’t gonna lead anywhere? Sooner or later Tad’s gonna make an asshole move, right, and Rosie is gonna go back to Pete, right?

Not that I expect deep insights into the human experience from “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!”, but does every single moment has to be contrived? Can’t there be a single fresh idea? Sure, I identify with Topher Grace’s nice-guy smart-ass loser character, but it’s not like the movie’s developing him any further than as the “best friend”, and when they give him his happy ending it’s not earned in the least. Hey, Hollywood, nice guys don’t get the girl, they finish lonely and miserable drunks. Aaarghh!

Again, I might be too rough on this harmless little pic… Topher does have a good speech about Rosalee’s “6 smiles” and his love for her. Then again, we barely see them together, and when Pete makes his big romantic declaration it’s to dull old Tad, and while he’s on the crapper!?!? There’s another solid scene further along between Pete and a barmaid but, again, it would work better if the film had actually bothered showing us how Rosie and Pete belong together instead of wasting time with Tad Hamilton.

Ooooookay… So I want to tell you not to bother with this nearly worthless flick, but at the same time I realise that maybe it just rubbed me the wrong way. It just pisses me off to think that millions of girls will watch this and root for the nice-guy loser friend to get the girl, but then they’ll leave the theatre and go fuck Tad Hamiltons without a second thought. Aaaarghh!

***

Dear Kevin,

Wow, that was such a harsh review, and quite honestly, very personal.

I guess it’s OK with me, and I guess Legally Blonde 2 was a work of art without me.

Anyway, I hope one day, I can leave the world of “hack” and perhaps even come close to being the film maker you feel i have no hope of reaching.

Thanks for the review (to date the worst and most personal I have ever received). I will be a lot stronger for it.

Kind regards,
Robert Luketic