Charming and inconsequential, Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! will entertain its target audience without troubling their memories long. The 'high concept' pitch is enjoyable but not fully exploited, with the selfish star of the title (Josh Duhamel) trying to improve his public persona by taking part in a charity date competition. When he takes a shine to the winner (Kate Bosworth), her long-devoted best friend (Topher Grace) finds himself romantic rivals with a Hollywood icon. And audiences find a formulaic romantic comedy laced with gentle showbiz satire.
The biggest problem with Win A Date... is that everyone is so gee golly gosh darn nice. Even Tad - who starts out as a promisingly hedonistic lout - is quickly revealed to be a misguided but generally decent sorta soul when he should be a total cad. Not that the niceness is nauseating, but it does mean the drama is rather muted: there never seems to be much at stake and very little feels real.
Typifying the air of unreality is Bosworth, a charismatic actress who just about carries off her character's annoying girly girly quirks. But she still doesn't convince as a downhome checkout girl, looking less like she's used to stocktaking than auditioning for Baywatch. More believable is Ginnifer Goodwin as her sexually frank co-worker. A talented comedienne, she could be the next Joan Cusack.
"SCRIPT PEPPERED WITH SMART LINES"
Grace is also good, coming off as a cross between Chandler from Friends and Tim from The Office, threatening Tad that if he hurts his true love: "I will tear you to pieces with my bare hands - or vicious rhetoric!" It's a smart line and the script is peppered with them, whether Tad is recalling his remake of The Grapes Of Wrath or stealing dialogue from his own movies to woo women.
Win A Date... may feel similarly secondhand, but it has the perky quality director Robert Luketic previously brought to Legally Blonde. Hardly stunning, but has a nice personality.