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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Robert Luketic
Cast:
Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Nathan Lane, Sean Hayes, Gary Cole, Ginnifer Goodwin
Writing Credits:
Victor Levin

Tagline:
In every love story, there's only room for one leading man.

Synopsis:
Imagine meeting your favorite big-screen idol and he winds up idolizing you! That's what happens to Rosalee (Kate Bosworth, Blue Crush), a star-struck small-town girl, who wins a date with handsome Hollywood hunk Tad Hamilton (Josh Dushamel, TV's Las Vegas). And while it may be Rosalee's dream-come-true, it means complete chaos for her best friend, Pete (Topher Grace, TV's That 70's Show). He's the boy back home who's deeply, hopelessly - and secretly - in love with her, too.

Box Office:
Budget
$24 million.
Opening Weekend
$7.320 million on 2711 screens.
Domestic Gross
$16.964 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $26.99
Release Date: 4/20/2004

Bonus:
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Photo Gallery
• Cast and Filmmakers
• Production Notes
• Sneak Peeks


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RELATED REVIEWS


Win A Date With Tad Hamilton (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 26, 2004)

When it comes to a romantic competition between a handsome movie star and the semi-nerdy boy-next-door, who do you expect the girl in question would choose? Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! gives us a look at that topic

The film starts in small town West Virginia with the sight of Rosalee (Kate Bosworth) and her friends Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Pete (Topher Grace) as they watch a Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) flick on the big screen. While the girls swoon and fantasize about how nice and wonderful he must be, we cut to a shot of Tad as he speeds, drinks and fools around with a babe. Tad’s managers Richard Levy (Nathan Lane) and Richard Levy (Sean Hayes) scheme to get him some positive PR after the tabloids tout Tad’s bad boy behavior.

Flash back to our heroes, as we see that the threesome all work at the local Piggly Wiggly; he’s the manager and they’re cashiers. Rosalee finds the results of the efforts to rehabilitate the star’s image: a contest called to win a date with Tad. Once she raises the required $100 donation, she enters.

Of course, she wins, and the bigwigs jet her out to California. Tad doesn’t look forward to this, but inevitably he changes his mind when he sees that Rosalee’s a babe. The date has its awkward moments but generally progresses well.

She soon heads home with stars still in her eyes. Pete finally gets up the nerve to express his love for Rosalee but gets interrupted when Tad arrives on the scene. Smitten by her, he decided to fly to West Virginia to visit her. He tells her that he wants some of her “platonic goodness” to rub off on him so he can reset his priorities. She agrees to help bring him back down to earth.

The pair hang out and despite his platonic intentions, inevitably they get in some hoochy-smoochy time. Unsurprisingly, Pete frowns on this and even calls the cops on the pair when they park and make out. The rest of the film follows the romantic triangle and the various complications that come along with it.

Too bad those complications provide little to interest or entertain us. At its heart, Tad enjoys a fun premise, but the movie fails to explore the subject well. Something like this might have been more entertaining as a period comedy, ala Bye Bye Birdie or the like.

Instead, Tad takes on its subject straight and has no fun with it. The concept of a movie star who invades the life of a small town girl seems rife with potential. Unfortunately, the final piece never remotely exploits those opportunities, as it prefers to follow the path of a pretty standard love romantic comedy love triangle.

And it fails to check out those elements well too. A lot of the fault lies with the bland characters. Rosalee is little more than a cute cipher. Our lead males adore her but we get no real reason for this other than she’s attractive and seemingly sweet. Nothing in the movie conveys what makes her so special.

As for Tad, he makes personality changes that seem awfully swift and steep. Early on we see him as a really selfish bad boy, but after a couple of hours with Rosalee, he totally alters his outlook. Huh? That seems like a tremendous stretch, and one I couldn’t buy.

Then there’s Pete, ostensibly the character with whom the audience should identify and for whom we should root. Most guys will empathize with his long-suppressed crush on Rosalee, but the film doesn’t make him a likable or endearing character. Instead, he comes across as something of a jerk, which actually leads us to hope he’ll flop with Rosalee at times. Any affection for Pete comes from a knee-jerk place just because we’ve been trained to cheer for this kind of personality.

The film’s sporadic attempts at nutty comedy – like the gay motel clerk or the two Richard Levys – seem tacked on and lame. The film runs only a little over an hour and a half, but it seems to plod along forever, as it never turns into anything compelling or interesting. Somewhere beneath the surface, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! boasts the potential for a good movie, but this isn’t it.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Mostly the movie looked excellent, but not good enough to hit “A”-level.

Sharpness seemed strong. The film displayed good clarity from start to finish. I noticed only the slightest hint of softness at times. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, but some light edge enhancement cropped up on occasion. As for print flaws, I noticed a speck or two but that was it.

Tad presented a warm and natural palette that seemed well reproduced. The colors consistently came across as lively and vibrant. I saw no problems with murkiness or bleeding from the tight tones. Blacks also came across as deep and firm, while low-light shots appeared clear and well delineated. Tad just slightly fell short of “A” level and mainly looked great.

When I examined the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Tad, I felt it presented a very typical mix for a romantic comedy. The soundfield maintained a strong orientation toward the front speakers. They offered a good sense of atmosphere along with nice stereo imaging for the music. The effects stayed with light environmental elements and rarely ventured beyond that range. The surrounds added minor reinforcement of the music and effects but never came to life more than that.

Audio quality came across as fine but unexceptional. Speech was natural and distinctive, and I noticed no issues with edginess or intelligibility. Music mainly came across as lively and bright, though a few songs seemed somewhat thin at times. Nonetheless, the score and tunes were largely dynamic and clear. Effects didn’t tax the mix, but they seemed clean and accurate, with no issues connected to distortion. Bass was fairly warm and tight, though it also rarely offered much range. Ultimately, the audio of Tad was decent but unexceptional.

We find a smattering of supplements on the DVD. We open with a collection of 16 deleted scenes. When viewed via the “Play All” option, these fill 22 minutes and 48 seconds. Much of the material seems like filler, but a few useful bits appear. These make Tad seem like more of a cad and others give Pete a nicer feel. Both elements might have made the final film more successful.

More unused footage appears in the Gag Reel. It lasts eight minutes, 26 seconds. These present the usual array of goofs and nuttiness and don’t seem very interesting. The Photo Gallery gives us 30 pictures. All of these present shots from the film.

Next we find some text components. Production Notes gives us some nice information about the film. The notes provide a decent look at a few important subjects and seem fairly rich.

Cast and Filmmakers offers the standard biographies. As usual, DreamWorks pour on the listings. We get entries for actors Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Gary Cole, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sean Hayes and Nathan Lane plus director Robert Luketic, producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher, screenwriter Victor Levin, executive producers Gail Lyon and William S. Beasley, composer Edward Shearmur, production designer Missy Stewart, editor Scott Hill, and costume designer Catherine Adair. The bios themselves don’t go much beyond the level of annotated filmography, but we sure do get a lot of them!

The DVD starts with trailers for Shrek 2 and Along Came Polly. The Sneak Peeks domain also includes ads for Peter Pan and the Tad soundtrack.

A lost opportunity, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! enjoys a clever premise but suffers from dull execution. It fails to create memorable characters, interesting situations, or viable comedy and generally falls flat. The DVD presents very positive picture with more than adequate sound and a moderately useful package of supplements highlighted by a surfeit of deleted scenes. This seems like a reasonably successful DVD, but the movie itself offers little.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.375 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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