|Saturday, January 24, 2004
|This 'Date' an OK diversion, but nothing special
Win A Date With Tad Hamilton
|Dreamboat Josh Duhamel is the main attraction in this harmless, escapist fantasy of celebrity life.
By Beth Jones
Was it the dude in last week's "Chasing Liberty" or this guy in "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" who's being billed as the next Brad Pitt?
Who can keep track? Josh Duhamel, the babe of "Win a Date," does sort of resemble Pitt in his "Thelma & Louise" days before Ms. Aniston zapped his air of mystery.
Either way, Duhamel certainly passes as a fox - a fact I only mention because the folks at DreamWorks clearly use his looks as a marketing tool. Objectifying the young lad would be wrong (which is why I refrained from mentioning that he obviously waxes his chest, an oddly appealing new beauty trend).
Directed by Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde"), "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton" begins with a slightly higher level of sophistication than other films of its ilk, but all that changes in the film's second half. The turning point comes when the filmmakers feel compelled to shoot a scene with the heartthrob on the toilet. Oh, to return to the days when potty time was taboo on the big screen.
Duhamel plays A-list movie star Tad Hamilton, who's begun that subtle slide into has-been territory (think Ben Affleck). It seems plenty of bad-boy antics have damaged his reputation, much to the displeasure of his manager, Richard Levy (a hilarious Sean Hayes), and his agent, also named Richard Levy (Nathan Lane, who's currently grating nerves in "Teacher's Pet" so there's really no need to inflict him on the teens of America as well).
As a PR move, the Levys dream up the "Win a Date" contest and select as their winner wholesome grocery clerk Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth), who lives in Frazier's Bottom, W.Va., possibly the best-named place in all of the world.
Besides having no trace of a Southern accent, Bosworth ("Blue Crush") is the human equivalent of the discount vanilla ice cream served at office birthday parties. She's far less sexy than her best friend Ginnifer Goodwin, who's annoyingly cast as the chubby homely girl even though she's actually the hotter of the pair.
Tad falls for dull Rosalee anyway, which is bad news for her other admirer, Pete (Topher Grace), who works with her at the Piggly Wiggly.
Don't you wish we had a Piggly Wiggly in Roanoke? Whenever you needed milk, you could say, "I'm going to the Piggly Wiggly" which totally beats saying, "I'm going to Kroger." Of course, the mere phenomenon of the Piggly Wiggly probably won't be enough to keep substance-seeking moviegoers interested in "Win a Date," though it's almost worth the price of admission to see one gorgeous shot of the New River Gorge Bridge.
Those just looking to escape reality for a couple of hours, on the other hand, will probably have no problem immersing themselves in the fantasy of the celebrity life - a dream Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson have all but ruined with "Newlyweds." Who knew celebrities eat lunch at Wendy's and take out their own dry cleaning?
The close-ups of Duhamel's chest probably won't hurt the box-office numbers either.
Win a Date With Tad Hamilton
At Carmike 10 at Tanglewood Mall, Salem Valley 8 and Valley View Grande 16. Rated PG-13 for mild sexual content and language. One hour, 32 minutes.