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February 3, 2004 > Movie Review: Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!

Movie Review: Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!

Rated: PG-13

Young or old, everyone has that one idol they'd like to someday, somehow, meet. Like Frank Sinatra and James Dean once wooed women, today's Ben Affleck and Brad Pitt, are among women's top ten lists of celebrity dream dates. But what if that wish came true? Would they really live up to their smooth-talking media personas, or would they just be regular guys? What if the tables were turned and he fell for you? "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" explores this unknown realm to those who long for that one encounter with their idol, and gives audiences a peak into the always intriguing "what if."

Rosalee Futch (Kate Bowsworth) is just a small-town gal from rural Fraziers Bottom, West Virgina. Her dream is to someday meet her own movie star idol Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) whom she's harbored feelings for since the first time she saw him on screen. Rosalee's chance to meet Tad arrives in the form of a contest, and even though it does require her raising $100 to enter, which would go to a charity the caring Tad has chosen, nothing will stop her. Her job at the local grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, and its generous customers, help her raise the money, and fast. Sooner than later she submits her entry and awaits eagerly with her friend Cathy Feely (Ginnifer Goodwin), a fellow Tad fanatic, for the results. Her best friend, and Piggly Wiggly manager, Pete Monash (Topher Grace) dismisses their infatuation with Tad as silly, all the while secretly loving Rosalee. Much to Pete's dismay, however, Rosalee wins the contest and is sent off to Hollywood, for the once in a lifetime chance to meet the object of her affection, Tad Hamilton.

The "Win a Date" contest is Tad Hamilton's agent and manager's plot to get Tad his recent bad-boy image out of the picture and transform him back into the boy next door. His agent, Richard Levy (Nathan Lane) and manager, also Richard Levy (Sean Hayes), need movie offers to start rolling in for Tad again, since business for Tad means money for them. The contest seems like the perfect way to get Tad back into the public eye in a good light, and of course, get back in business. After a long journey away from home, Rosalee arrives in Hollywood and finally meets Tad on their date, but to her surprise she's not the only one seeing stars. Tad is completely taken by Rosalee and feels that her wholesomeness can somehow help restore him back into the down-to-earth nice guy he once was, before Hollywood happened. Richard Levy, Richard Levy, and love-struck Pete are left in utter horror.

This fun, lively, and very entertaining film is the product of screenwriter Victor Levin and husband-and-wife producers Douglas Warwick and Lucy Fisher. About his character, Levin declared, "Tad Hamilton is who I long to be. He is successful, talented and a decent person. He has a marvelous way of dancing through life with a minimum of pain and a maximum of happiness. I think I can say that his days are the envy of all of us," and added that, despite Tad's star status, "the theme of this movie is that everybody is a somebody. Whether you come from a small town or the highest stratum of society, at the end of the day, the playing field is a little more level than we may think."

"Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!" is one of the year's most unexpected hits, since overall it has been a bit overshadowed by other more publicized mainstream releases. Although the film's stars aren't veterans of the big-screen yet, they do an excellent job in portraying their characters, with a comedic timing and personality that make this film one of the most entertaining of the year. Sometimes movies don't need a complex premise to intrigue audiences; just a simple, real life plot can be ten times better, and funnier.

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