Starring: Josh ?first movie for me? Duhamel;
Nathan Lane; Sean Hayes (Jack on Will and Grace); Topher Grace (Eric on That
70s Show); Kate Bosworth; Ginnifer Goodwin, and Kathryn Hahn.
Directed by: Robert Lukitec (Legally Blonde)
Written by: Victor
This hour and a half long, PG 13 rated, romantic comedy was aimed directly
at a market made up mostly of 13 year old girls. While my mate is not a
13 year-old girl, she wanted to see it because it would (and I do quote)
?make her happy?. It did. In some ways it
also made me feel good. I guess that was because, when it comes right down
to it, this movie was so much better than I expected it to be.
Not that (go figure) I expected it to be much. I was dragged to this
movie almost completely against my will. In fact, the last thing my date
said to me prior to the opening credits was ?I owe you big time?. We were
already off to a decent start.
Win a Date was a film debut for just about everyone involved. To
begin with, you have a director who has basically only done Legally Blonde
(a good movie for the vapid piece of crap that it was). Add to that a writer
whose main claim to fame is writing for the series Mad About You (another
good show for what it was, which was shit). Mixed in with this you have
five actors whose numbers are (practically) greater than the combined film
roles they have had (and Kate Bosworth has been in 4).
Let?s look at the film experience of the cast, shall we.
Josh Duhamel is from the series Las Vegas (which
I have never seen but has James Khan in it so ? well, it must be high budget).
Nathan Lane, who you would know immediately
upon seeing him (and get that weird feeling that you can?t remember if you
ever liked or hated him in anything) is somewhat memorable for his part in
The Birdcage back in 1996 but has mostly done television and voice-overs
Unless you count playing the fish in that awful looking recent Cat in
the Hat movie, Sean Hayes has basically
done Will and Grace (or Jack and Karen as it should be called).
Topher Grace is the lead from That 70s Show
and has done little else (but has gotten good press for what he has done).
Ginnifer Goodwin was in Mona Lisa Smile
and Porn ?n Chicken (Comedy Central ? see NOTE below) as well as
one episode of Law and Order.
Finally, Kathryn Hahn (who I really hated in
this movie) was in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and, ugh, Crossing
These are all well-known faces to the television watching public but if any
of them have being a movie star listed under their future goals, this was
their first real chance.
You know what? With the possible exception of Kathryn, they did well.
Okay, so I found Topher (what kind of name is Topher
? sounds like a cheese stick or desert topping) to be his lame-old stiff
self and I didn?t like Kathryn. On the other hand, Kathryn was hardly in
the movie and Topher?s lame-assed, stiff self played fairly well here. Ginnifer
had a small, slutty part and I do truly appreciate small, slutty parts (I?d
do ?er). Sean Hayes was tolerable (but had a hard time shaking Jack from
Jack and Karen) as was Nathan Lane. Josh Duhamel was quite good at
playing a movie star (and that is a big stretch for
him). Finally, the real star, Kate Bosworth, was so good at being who she
was being (no idea whether she was actually acting and hardly care) that
I fell in love with her. I literally could have watched (and did, in fact,
watch) her for hours and, while listening intently, not taken in a thing
Don?t get me wrong. No one was doing much hard acting here. This was basically
a story with all the depth of a junior high crush. Remember, those things
that seemed so intense at the time but, in hindsight, were pretty simple
compared to realm, adult psychosis. Still, with a simple story about romance
and ?Big Love?, everyone involved gave a solid performance.
The real kudos in this movie, however, belong to Victor Levin for not having
a bad guy. This movie was 90% predictable and 90% exactly what I expected
but that 10% was important and that 10% was that (and now I am wrecking it)
Duhamel?s character was not just a Hollywood creep. Even deeper than that,
he might have been a creep without knowing it but we never got to see that
he was and what we did see made his intentions look fairly good (if a little
misguided). What I am trying to say is that this is not exactly the love
story you are expecting. It is damn close but it differs enough that I was
impressed with the depth.
And when I say ?depth? I certainly mean it in the context of this vapid movie.
I mean, this movie had fewer levels than Clueless. Still, in the end, it
was a solid little movie that gave more than it promised and, despite the
fact that it promised almost nothing, I was genuinely impressed.
I am not saying that you should run out and see this movie (unless you are
a teenage girl in which case you will probably love it) but I am saying that,
if your date wants to see it, there are worse things you could do than take
her. It is a cute story with a beautiful girl and good production values.
Finally, I learned something else from this movie that I think is important
to know. It turns out that teenage girls are more intelligent than the rest
of us. This movie was not dumbed down to close the level that most movies
aimed at adults are. Assuming that the movie was aimed well at its target
audience, this would mean that teenage girls need less explained to them
than the rest of the movie going public.
This movie was not stupid or sappy (although it was, and had to be, more
than a bit melodramatic). Win a Date with Tad Hamilton is not going to replace
any of the great romantic movies and no one at the Oscars has to be scared
of losing to this movie. On the other hand, it was worth sitting through,
even if the only other guy in the audience was also the only person older
than me and was obviously chaperoning a gaggle of girls.
NOTE: Porn ?n Chicken is based on a true story about a club at Yale (although
the name of that school is not used) in 1996 who got together regularly to
watch porn and eat chicken (hence the name). The administration came down
hard on the group who revolted by producing their own movie. Between the
movie and the attempted assault by the university administration, the club
got more popular and well known.(See SUB NOTE below).
SUB NOTE: In 1993 or 1994 there was a club at Mount Allison University called
the Sackville Porn Club. As this name was not well received, it was changed
to the Gender Studies Through Film Club. Needless to say, when you see Porn
?n Chicken (which I know I have to see), don?t think that the first place
it happened was Yale. Hell, Mount Allison was just and example. I am certain
it happened elsewhere even earlier.