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Topher Grace and Kate Bosworth clap excitedly - Bosworth's the lucky winner of a celebrity date in Win a Date with Ted Hamilton! (courtesy photo)

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!
Dir. Robert Luketic; writ. Victor Levin; feat. Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel, Topher Grace (PG-13)

There's more chemistry in grape Kool-Aid than in Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!, a bland romantic comedy with no convincing romance and very few laughs. Unlike Kool-Aid, though, it won't stain your tongue. It will leave you completely unmarked, and it's entirely possible you will forget everything about it before you leave the parking lot.

No man named Tad could be anything but a movie star; this one is so famous for playing virtuous characters that his fans assume he's a straight-arrow offscreen as well. Actually, Tad is careening drunk in a convertible, cigarette in mouth and bimbo in hand. He's getting a bad reputation, and his agents (who evidently haven't heard the names Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell) fear it's costing the actor work. They decide to polish Tad's rep with a charity contest in which some lucky nobody will win one evening with the star.

Tad is careening drunk in a convertible, cigarette in mouth and bimbo in hand.
That nobody is Rosalee (Bosworth), a wholesome beauty who checks groceries at a Piggly Wiggly in rural West Virginia. Like all West Virginian prom-queen types, Rosalee eats Pringles by the canful, speaks with homemade hillbilly exclamations like "shake-a-do!" and "yikes-a-be!," and has never let a man near her "carnal treasure."

The shallow Tad quickly senses Rosalee's inner depth (located just north of her carnal treasure, one assumes) and deviates from his agents' script: He follows her back to West Virginia and sets about wooing her, throwing a kink into the plans of Pete (Grace, of That '70s Show), who dreams of marrying her himself.

What follows is so rushed and by-the-book that it feels more like a script outline than the finished product. Director Robert Luketic made his bones on Legally Blonde and clearly would like Bosworth to be his next Reese Witherspoon. But despite her lovely smile, Bosworth isn't anywhere near Witherspoon's league yet; similarly, That '70s Guy can't flesh out his underwritten part, and supporting actors who should be scene-stealers fall flat.

As one of the make-believe movies the fictional Tad makes, Win A Date might fit right in. But in the real world, it's hardly enough for straight-to-video. •


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