out of Five
Running time: 96
Sweet, well-written, frequently funny romantic comedy that just about survives its chemistry imbalance thanks to a spirited performance from Bosworth.
Director Robert Luketic proved he could handle both comedy and ‘Next Big Thing’ blonde leading ladies when he made the surprise hit Legally Blonde, so it’s a pleasure to see him back in familiar romcom territory here. The love triangle plot may be just – ahem - a tad too clichéd and it suffers because of too much chemistry between the ‘wrong’ couple, but it has great performances from Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel and hilarious support from Ginnifer Goodwin.
Checkout Girl’s Dreams Come True
Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush) plays Rosalee Futch, a supermarket checkout girl in rural Frazier’s Bottom, West Virginia. When she enters a competition and wins a date with her favourite movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel, from TV’s Las Vegas, in his big screen debut), she thinks all her dreams have come true. However, her manager and childhood best friend Pete (Topher Grace from That 70s Show) is less than pleased for her, not least because he’s been harbouring a deep-seated crush on her for several years.
The contest itself is the brainchild of Hamilton’s agent (Nathan Lane) and manager (Sean Hayes) - both of whom are named Richard Levy - a brainchild conceived with the aim of combating Hamilton’s bad boy image. However, it backfires severely when Hamilton finds himself falling for Rosalee’s pure heart and moves to West Virginia to be with her…
As a showcase for the talents of Kate Bosworth, Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! is a huge success – she’s utterly adorable and lights up every scene she’s in. Duhamel is good, too, particularly as the writers wisely decided against making him a total bastard. The problem is that Duhamel and Bosworth are just too good together – there’s palpable chemistry between them and none whatsoever between Bosworth and Topher Grace, which almost scuppers the film towards the end.
Some Casting Problems
It’s fair to say that, although Grace is a fine comic performer in his own right, he is woefully miscast here – his sarcastic persona from That 70s Show has been transferred to his role as Pete and seems out of place. The script helps him out where it can (the speech about her six different smiles is a winner) but it just isn’t enough.
Luckily, the superb supporting cast are on hand to compensate for the films chemical deficiencies. Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes are a hilarious double-act, to the point where you wish they were in more scenes. However, Ginnifer Goodwin (the ‘plain’ one from Mona Lisa Smile) almost steals the entire film with her portrayal of Rosalee’s lusty best friend Cathy – hopefully she’ll get lots of similar offers in future.
In short, Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! is an enjoyable romcom with likeable characters and several good gags, even if the final resolution doesn’t quite work. Worth seeing for Bosworth and Goodwin, anyway.