Win a Date with Tad Hamilton focuses on the fantasy-made-reality of small-town West Virginian Rosalee Futch (played by the Natalie Portman/ Keira Knightly clone Kate Bosworth).
Rosalee works at the butt of many Southern jokes. She’s joined in this teen comedy by her two best friends, Cathy and Pete, played by Ginnifer Goodwin and Topher Grace.
Goodwin plays Rosalee’s quirky best friend, without many quirks. Grace plays a lukewarm version of his cynical character Eric on That 70s Show. A big-haired Josh Duhamel plays the object of Rosalee’s desire, Tad himself.
Tad is a stereotypical Hollywood bad boy. His controversial behavior gets captured by the tabloids and threatens his movie career.
The public relations stunt cooked up by his manager and agent, unfunny Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes, bring Tad and Rosalee together after she wins an Internet contest with Tad as the prize.
She is flown to L.A., plays out a few fish-out-of-water scenarios, and somehow manages to charm and be charmed by Tad.
This movie moves very quickly, glossing over background and character development in favor of routine plot twists.
The settings of West Virginia and L.A. are at once romanticized and insultingly cliché.
A scene illustrating the fact that a lot of people in L.A. use cell phones is not a joke in 2004, especially when a song about how California people have more “bounce” than other people is played over it, making the point beyond painfully obvious.
The film can’t seem to decide whether it is a romantic comedy or a melodrama, causing an uneven jumble of “deep” dialogue, meaningful close-ups, bathroom jokes and sight gags.
The most disappointing part of this film is that the actors seem to be acting in different rooms from each other.
The only on-screen chemistry is between Pete and his dog, a sad statement for a movie that aims to be about “great love.”
Carrie Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org