DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Elliott, Apr 17, 2004.

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  1. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!


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    Studio: Dreamworks
    Year: 2004
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 97 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0 Surround
    Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    Retail Price: $26.95




    Good God, not another romantic teen comedy.

    Those were my exact words to a girl I was standing by when I opened the package from Dreamworks and saw Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! inside it. Most of the films of its type become big hits only to be forgotten by the time the next comes along but that wasn’t quite the case here. Instead, this film opened and left theaters very quickly without too much fan fair, which is something that should happen to most films. However, the case here is that a real sleeper was born but sadly very few know about it.

    Rosalee (Kate Bosworth) is your typical girl living in a small town where nothing much really happens. After work she hangs out with her two friends and they usually wind up at the movies watching her favorite actor Tad Hamilton. Pete (Topher Grace) has been her best friend since childhood and even he is embarrassed by the way the girls act towards the silver screen. Rosalee often says she bets Tad is just as caring and romantic in real life as he is on the screen. Pete, being the wise one knows that an actor can sell anything and especially sell romance to a young girl.

    Out in Hollywood the media has broken a story about Tad (Josh Duhamel), which could ruin his career. Tad was caught drunk driving with a female fan and this here certainly goes against his romantic image. Fearing some sort of public backlash, Tad’s manager (Nathan Lane) decides to hold a contest where one lucky fan could win a date with the handsome actor. As it turns out Rosalee wins the contest and to her shock, the date goes better than expected and soon Tad finds himself in West Virginia trying to take the date to the next level. All of this doesn’t sit too well with Pete because he sees Tad as a fraud and he’s also keeping the secret that he loves Rosalee.

    Since writing reviews at Home Theater Forum I’ve had to watch several of these romantic comedies and I believe each one of them got a negative review, which usually had my PM box full of people asking if I just didn’t like these types of films. I always replied that I had nothing against romantic comedies as long as they were good movies. Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! isn’t a good movie but a downright great one that manages to poke fun at itself but at the same time it manages to have an actual brain and heart, which is missing from all the bad films that fall into this genre.

    There’s all sorts of things going on in the film but director Robert Luketic is smart enough to know how many times this type of story has been told. Not only in the past ten years but the past hundred years of cinema. The screenplay makes a very wise choice and it appears the writer was sick to death of the current romantic comedy and decided to set the film as if it were being made back in the 1930’s. The film plays out more like Bringing Up Baby or Adam’s Rib instead of something watered down like How to Deal or even Crossroads for that matter. I doubt this film will become a legendary classic but it’s pretty darn close to perfection for what it is.

    Another good thing working for the film is that is appears to have been made for adults. Perhaps that’s why the film didn’t do too well at the box office because the characters involved have experienced life and they know life well. Instead of countless scenes where the viewer is ten times smarter than the character, this film here gives us smart characters who are talking about serious issues and by doing this the film adds some very tender moments that aren’t usually seen in a movie like this. The film is smart enough to stay away from any clichés and it’s smart enough to treat all the characters with a bit of respect. Even the “rednecks” are never made out to be stereotypes and Hollywood is given a bit of respect as well.

    Going into the film we expect to go down the same road and we know how this Cinderella story will turn out. The film goes down that same road but there are many bumps here and there that throws things off course and keeps the drama high because we truly don’t know who the young girl will pick. We know there’s only two choices but there isn’t a clear cut winner and in the end we are rather shocked at how things play out. There are plenty of funny moments here as well and once again the screenplay seems to be sticking its tongue out at us. The biggest spoof is the current romantic comedies in theaters. As we’re watching the film we are seeing something we’ve seen countless times yet the film then sticks its tongue out at us and says we know that’s what you’re thinking but we’re going to give you something else instead. That slyness in the writing is what makes the movie such a charm.

    For a great screenplay to work however you need a cast that can bring it to life. Once again, I’ve been very harsh on today’s so-called actors but the performances gathered here is something really refreshing. Kate Bosworth is probably the freshest and most charming actresses to grace a romantic comedy since Meg Ryan way back in When Harry Met Sally. That incredible smile will put a smile on the viewers face just like it does her friends in the movie. Just the way Bosworth’s characters jumps off the screen makes it very easy to see why these two men would fall in love with her. In fact, the viewer themselves might find their hearts slipping into the competition. Josh Duhamel does a wonderful job at showing the high class Hollywood hero who tries coming down to Earth. Once again the actor’s charm really wins over on the viewer and seeing the two together will remind you of the best date of your life. Then there’s Topher Grace who probably has the toughest role to sell yet he pulls it off without any problems. There are many instances where Grace could have gone over the top or his jealousy could have rubbed the viewer the wrong way but the actor manages to show off the good with the bad without it looking forced or faked.

    I’m sure most people will see the title and think this is just another one of those teenage comedies but that’s a real shame because Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! is a wonderful and charming little gem that deserved a better fate at the box office. Those who are normally turned off by this type of film will be the biggest fans because it was made for those who hate the current crop of films out there. This is a throw back to the old days and that’s reason alone to give the film a shot. It’s refreshing to watch a movie where we think we know exactly what’s coming yet the movie does something fresh with it. Normally, when two guys are in love with the same girl she’s smart enough to see the fraud and see the one who really loves her. With this film, both truly love her and we don’t get any slime ball moments, which helps the drama in the end.


    VIDEO---The movie is shown widescreen (2.35:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Coming from Dreamworks we expect the best and that’s what they deliver once again. This here is nearly reference quality with only a few minor problems. The blacks levels are very solid and looks the best I’ve seen in quite some time. The flesh tones are all very accurate and the detail in the colors is so sharp that you can’t help but feel you’re watching a 3-D movie. The lavish colors leap right off the screen bringing the look all the more natural. The lack of any edge enhancement also makes the transfer even better. There’s a few artifacts that pop up in one scene but other than that this is one of the best transfers out there.

    AUDIO---The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very good, although it’s not nearly as sharp as the picture. This is a mostly dialogue driven film so you shouldn’t expect much more than what we get here. The dialogue is up-front and crystal clear without any problems. There isn’t too much sound separation but the Surrounds do kick in nicely with the soundtrack.

    EXTRAS---There are too many extras but what’s here isn’t that bad. We get smaller stuff like production notes, still gallery, cast bios and a theatrical trailer, which is 16x9 enhanced. The big extra are fifteen deleted scenes, which are actually pretty entertaining. There’s nothing great included but what’s here is fun. Finally we get a gag reel full of funny moments and an ending that will make Duhamel fans very happy.

    OVERALL---If you hate the current trend of teenage romantic comedies then I highly recommend this film to you. I’ve seen most of the current films and have hated most but this one here really hit me in the right way. This won’t become a legendary film but hopefully a cult following with pick up on it. Dreamworks once again delivers reference video quality and the 5.1 track is very nice. Extras are small but good enough.


    Release Date: April 20, 2004
     
  2. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the review! I'll give this a try.
     
  3. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Wasn't this just in theaters last week?
     
  4. Casey Trowbridg

    Casey Trowbridg Lead Actor

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    I might give this a try also, thanks for the review.
     
  5. ThomasWallin

    ThomasWallin Auditioning

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    Actually got this for my girlfriend but ended up liking it myself. Great review and I hope more people see this fun little movie.
     
  6. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i agree with everything you said michael.
    but that.
    i thought her character came across as really dumb so much so she gave me the impression she has a "brain problem."

    i hated bosworth in this movie.

    on the other hand topher grace is very talented as an actor and i think his strength is his sarcastic style.

    cant wait to see him in more major roles.
     

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