Soon after the denizens of Pine Valley discovered that Leo’s mother Vanessa (alias Rosie Wells) was the drug lord Proteus, she was shipped to a mental institution from which she subsequently escaped. And after Vanessa kidnapped Greenlee from the Pine Cone at knifepoint and forced her and Leo to go scouring for diamonds at Miller’s Falls, the nutcase and her son dove off the waterfall and disappeared from Pine Valley forever. Or did they? That folks is good melodrama, something Robert Luketic’s Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! sorely lacks. That’s also how the writers at “All My Children” killed off two of the show’s most popular characters back in 2002, leaving the door open for the hunky Josh Duhamel to return just in case his Hollywood career went nowhere. (And that’s how your knowledge of daytime television can help you fill your word count!) Duhamel is Tad Hamilton, a Hollywood playboy who goes on a charity date with small-town girl Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth) in order to tame his bad-boy reputation but ends up falling in love with the girl. Or does he? Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is Puppy Love 101 for the MTV generation (there’s a pop song for every transition in the film!), an inoffensive but painfully routine look at Teen Beat personalities looking for love in all the wrong places. Luketic and screenwriter Victor Levin lazily summon a war between Hollywood chintz and Bumblefuck values using Segways, Piggly Wigglys and other country-mouse-city-mouse signifiers, but the film has very little to say about the way people choose to live their lives. Rosalee and her best friend, player-hating Pete Monash (an excellent Topher Grace), are bound to get together, and though Luketic has an adorable time contriving a Hollywood ending for the couple, you can’t help but look at the film as a limp satire that doesn’t ever know exactly what it’s satirizing (not unlike the equally mundane Legally Blonde, whose pink color scheme disguised the fact that Luketic isn’t a very interesting visualist). The filmmakers, though, know their target audience, and as such the perpetually half-naked Duhamel will make “All My Children” fans nostalgic for that time when Greenlee had to decide between Leo and Ryan.
A mediocre film gets a mediocre audio/visual presentation. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is presented here in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the transfer is perfectly un-spectacular. Edge haloes are kept to a minimum, but there is a certain edginess to the image at times. Colors are good but not exactly vibrant. Skin tones are accurate but not necessarily appealing. And so on. Shouldn’t this transfer make you want to grab Josh Duhamel and Kate Bosworth? Oh well. The audio is similarly acceptable. Dialogue is crystal clear but the non-stop parade of pop songs don’t exactly resonant. Then again, that may be a good thing if you aren’t a fan of the film.
No less than sixteen deleted scenes headline the disc’s supplemental material. All bad, but the first of two deleted scenes featuring Paris Hilton shouldn’t be missed. They’re followed by a mundane gag reel, a photo gallery, cast and filmmaker bios, production notes, and trailers/previews for Peter Pan, Shrek 2 and Along Came Polly. Wait a second, is DreamWorks Home Entertainment now in cahoots with Universal?
Don’t miss the deleted scenes for further proof that Paris Hilton’s skankdom is a force to be reckoned with.