Mad about Tad
Millions of fans idolize a hunky movie star in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! And no wonder. As played by Josh Duhamel, Tad is drop dead gorgeous -- just ask him. However, America's favorite leading man needs some favorable press to help save his reputation, and that's why the "Win a Date with Tad" contest materializes. Naturally, the lucky winner turns out to be a wholesome girl who makes the spoiled actor seem like a better person than he really is. Who knew a big movie star like Tad would fall for a small-town Piggly Wiggly checker? Only everyone who saw the previews. But never mind. This is a terrific romantic comedy -- funny, tender and filled with sparkling performances.
With his chiseled features, buffed-up body and a smile as big as all outdoors, Duhamel (TV's Las Vegas) fits his role like it was tailor-made for him. And Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush)who projects an almost spiritual quality here, is totally endearing as Rosalee, the contest winner. She's just as physically attractive as Duhamel, and her beautiful smile matches his. (One of the film's most amusing scenes involves the two comparing dental experiences.)
Rosalee may not be sophisticated like Tad, but she knows enough to avoid spending the entire night with him on their Hollywood date. After all, didn't her best friend, Pete (Topher Grace), warn her to guard her carnal treasure? Of course, unbeknownst to our heroine, Pete loves Rosalee deeply and feels threatened when Tad comes after her. Grace, (TV's That '70s Show) displaying wonderful comic timing, earns the most laughs during a sequence involving a milking and wood-chopping competition between Pete and Tad. Even though I felt sorry for Pete, I couldn't help chuckling at his misery.
Nathan Lane, Sean Hayes, Ginnifer Goodwin and Gary Cole make up the movie's fine supporting cast. Lane (Nicholas Nickleby) and Hayes (TVs Will and Grace) are hilarious in their few scenes as Tad's worried manager and agent -- both named Richard Levy. Playing one of Rosalee's kooky friends, Goodwin is much more believable here than in Mona Lisa Smile. Not surprisingly, Cole (Office Space) emerges as the perfect star-struck dad who's trying to appear oh-so nonchalant about his daughter's new boyfriend.
In addition to poking fun at the cult of celebrity, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! also finds time to remind us about the nature of true love and the value of friendship. I enjoyed this entertaining film almost as much as Love Actually -- which is quite a compliment coming from someone who considers that movie among the ten best of 2003.
(Released by DreamWorks and rated "PG-13" for sexual content, some drug references and language. Reviewed after Sneak Preview on January 2, 2004.)