ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  robert luketic

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  95 minutes

RELEASED  -  23 january 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  tad hamilton

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $24,000,000
win a date with tad hamilton! - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from win a date with tad hamilton! at

buy the dvd from win a date with tad hamilton! at

a small-town girl wins a date with a male celebrity through a contest.

the film once sported two additional exclamation points at the end of its title.


picture from win a date with tad hamilton!

picture from win a date with tad hamilton!

picture from win a date with tad hamilton!

picture from win a date with tad hamilton!


two out of four possible stars

Sporting a universally beautiful cast, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! will probably charm the hearts of romantic comedy fans who don't mind taking a few rather impressive leaps of faith regarding the story and who just want to see some attractive people stir up some bubbly comedy. Since the location in which most of the film takes place is West Virginia, one would assume the inhabitants of the town would sport some sort of Southern drawl, but it usually sounds as if Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, and Ginnifer Goodwin just stepped off a flight from Los Angeles and decided to take their Southern California accents with them to the set.

But as long as one is willing to look beyond this oddity, their performances really can't be faulted as the comedy is usually right on target and the romance is always appropriately sweet. One of the most important aspects of a romantic comedy, that necessary element of romantic chemistry that must exist between the actors in order for the expected sparks to fly, is present in all the right scenes and the performances speak well of the casting director. Though each of the actors is quite new to the screen (all having but a handful of roles to their names), all the characters are performed with honest enthusiasm by their respective actors, though Bosworth takes the idea of "innocent" a little too far sometimes.

Although her character, "Rosalee Futch," is supposed to be a down-home country girl whose heart is as pure as the sunset, her innocence sometimes makes her seem unintelligent instead of virtuous. As Futch, Bosworth questions seriously whether she could actually snag a Hollywood leading man, but since she's just one of the most beautiful women on the screen today, it's a hard idea to swallow. And though there are other instances of her character requiring too big of a leap of faith from the audience, Topher Grace is usually in the wings to provide some truly hilarious moments.

Much of his comedic talent has to do with his well practiced timing in delivering his lines, while still keeping his character sincere. As "Pete Monash," the jealous friend going bananas over the relationship between the woman of his dreams and a Hollywood movie star, Topher fits the role well both physically and mentally, but is in no way lamebrain or ditzy, keeping it easy to believe his love for Rosalee. And even though he sports a Southern California accent just like Bosworth, if you concentrate on his jokes and more serious dialogue, his performance is in no other way lacking.

Jumping from the television screen of a soap opera (he had a role on "All My Children" from 1998 to 2002) to the "Tad Hamilton," (a name that seems to be plucked right off the silver screen), actor Josh Duhamel doesn't have as funny a role as does Grace, but since his character is a more serious one, his performance is suitable. Though near the beginning of the film, it's rather strange how he's treated by his agent and manager, two men both with the name "Richard Levy," (played horrifically over-the-top by Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes). The two men try to insert inside jokes that would appeal to Hollywood insiders but seem out of place in a standard romantic comedy. The film does deal with the insanity and shallowness of the feature film industry, but some of the jokes just didn't flow with the overall attitude of the picture.

Playing Bosworth's best friend, "Cathy Feely," Ginnifer Goodwin is suitably effervescent and bubbly, though her character's arc seems to piddle out near the end of the film. Kathryn Hahn plays a bartender absolutely in love with Topher's character and has one of the only southern accents in the entire film. Though her role is played very well, her accent almost seems out of place, given the lack of twang in the rest of the cast. But really, if one is caught up with the emotional comings and goings of the characters, the missing southern dialect will probably be forgotten by most viewers.

Though the film's plot is completely predictable, peppered with the usual lighthearted pop-songs and filled with countless one-liners (almost always delivered by Topher Grace, many of which are viewable in the trailer), the movie is successful in its genre. The love story is believable, even if the characters have their flaws. The comedy is always on target (again, thanks to Grace), thereby filling the "comedy" portion required by the genre. Though audience members who aren't inclined to enjoy romantic comedies might have little to do during a viewing of this film, as a sprightly and vivacious film, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton fits the bill.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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