Review: “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton”

A brief, at times funny, run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, ‘Tad’ is an enjoyable experience guaranteed to give you a smile and drop out of your mind as soon as you leave the theatre. Its spunky young cast, combined with rather obvious satire makes it a wide appealer. However, the story is very cliche whilst the tone is like an old 50’s movie, albeit without the clever or naughty subtext (in other words, sweetly naive) and the gags aren’t funny enough to be worth further viewings like Director Robert Luketic’s last effort “Legally Blonde” (although this is better than the woeful ‘Blonde 2’).

The characters are all rather one note which makes the love triangle montage rather dull if not for the fresh faces who come to the parts saddled with little baggage – most notably Kate Bosworth whose heroinne is so charmingly sweet and level-headed that it’s easy to see why the guys fall for her. Trouble is the two guys after her aren’t much to compete with – the geekish best friend or the Hollywood bad boy, at least the bad boy has the kind of body that would even give a straight guy an erection, and the balls to go after what he wants (it’s never clearly explained why Topher’s character always held back from admitting his feelings).

Duhamel and Grace deliver serviceable performances which make it easy to like them both but the muddled screenplay never allows either to shine and clunkily tries (and fails) to manipulate us to feel things for both at different times. Duhamel’s quick changes of heart never ring true, likewise Grace’s constant frustration over admitting he wants to be more than friends.

Thus the supporting characters steal the show from Lane delivering the odd good line, Goodwin as the slutty best friend, Hahn as the wise gruff bartender with a crush and Cole with the odd fun sight gag (Hayes just seems nasty). That’s the trouble though, the script and the direction are very pedestrian and seem too afraid to really strive for anything above an essentially matinee movie with little point (in fact the filmmakers seem to get lost figuring out where they’re trying to head with this).

The premise is rather a limp one in the first place, after all a bad boy image has been a plus in Hollywood for decades now – people don’t want to know about Colin Farrell or Russell Crowe’s charity work, they want to know who they’re going down on tonight. In fact the only thing that still goes on like this are celebs who hire ‘beards’ to cover if they’re gay (you know who you are and I know who you are but can’t say) but then that wouldn’t set up a love triangle and there’d be no film.

Gags are made about LA from the buildings & mannerisms, cell phone usage, and an admittedly funny montage where Rosalee stares at the odd sights out the limo window – its satire but not as clever as it wants to be. Hell I can’t remember LA ever looking so un-Californian and damn clean on screen -where’s the dirty buildings, the fat people, the rundown tattoo parlors, the tourists, the twinks, the hoods, the smog-filled sky toned in that ‘Urine Haze’ colour so unique to that city (they’re the kind of things one comes to love).

Ultimately the film is like that – a romantic comedy that’s light and somewhat artificial on the comedy and romance. A gag at the start has three of the characters watching a Tad film and the guy shakes his head wondering who could fall for such crap – but the two girls next to him sure do. I did fall for ‘Tad’, it was an enjoyable one-night stand but nothing special or worth marking down in one’s diary.