Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!

(Robert Luketic, USA, 2004)


Pete (Topher Grace) has strong feelings for Rosalee (Kate Bosworth), her co-worker at a grocery store, but has problems telling her so. Rosalee swoons at the sight of her screen idol, "bad boy" Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) – although, in her rather conservative fantasies, she imagines him as a wholesome, church-going type.

Pete panics when Rosalee, spurred on by her best gal pal Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin from Mona Lisa Smile [2004]), wins a dream date with Tad, because he knows the star will only want one thing from his fan. Tad, however, is full of surprises: fed up with his vapid lifestyle, he even contemplates starting over on a farm in West Virginia after meeting Rosalee.

This is a teen movie that modestly harks back to the era of Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), putting more faith in the ability of the actors and the appeal of the characterisations than flashy MTV-style antics. As such, it is a welcome step for Australian director Robert Luketic beyond the brittle, garish camp of Legally Blonde (2001).

Not that there's anything going on that could possibly break the immaculately clean surface of this story. No sex, no violence, no neurosis, no burning passion. Luketic is seemingly happy in the shadowless world of lightweight entertainment, and he handles it well.

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is an instantly forgettable but painlessly enjoyable bit of fluff. It manages, for ninety-six minutes, to drag us back into the bubble of innocence which smart, ironic films like Down with Love (2003) figured they had burst forever.

© Adrian Martin April 2004

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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