3 Stars – WHOLESOME
The longing for love pulls at the heart of every person. Whether we have the trappings of fame and success or whether we live an ordinary life of modest means, we share the desire to find someone who will love us so deeply that they know even the slightest variations in our moods and desires. This romantic longing is the theme of Robert Luketic’s “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton.”
Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel) is a virile young actor whose physique and good looks have provided him with fame and fortune. Yet, after he says goodbye to his woman of the evening, he sits at home in his Malibu beach house eating frozen meals prepared by his maid. Having hit a lull in his career and needing to improve his image, Hamilton’s agents create a scheme in which a wholesome girl can win a date with him. This publicity stunt becomes more than just a career move, it creates a defining moment for Tad’s life.
The young woman who wins the date is Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth). An innocent beauty from a small town in West Virginia, Rosalee works in the local Piggly Wiggly store with her two best friends. What she doesn’t realize is that one of these friends, who is also the manager of her store, is in love with her.
Unable to express his love, Pete (Topher Grace) is understandably apprehensive when he discovers that Rosalee won the contest and is flying to California to spend an evening with the handsome movie star. Painfully aware that Rosalee’s naiveté makes her vulnerable to the charms and designs of a worldly actor, Pete tries to warn her without revealing his true feelings. This sets the stage for the inevitable showdown between Pete and Tad for Rosalee’s affections: Will charm, wealth and looks win out over life-long friendship, love and devotion?
The obvious message of the film is one that rings true in all of life. When Tad is exposed to a genuine person who is not playing him or playing a part, he is confronted with his own life. His empty heart and home is not going to be filled with a person who does not love him, apart from all his external trappings.
Presenting the truth that even promiscuous men are most attracted to and will give themselves to the women who do not allow themselves to be sexually used, Tad follows Rosalee home to West Virginia and tries to have a real relationship with her. The difficulty is that he does not know how. Though he uses lines from his films, his wealth to buy a home on a farm, and his physique to show up Pete, he finally shows himself to be so self-absorbed that he never really notices the uniqueness of Rosalee.
But Pete does. He has been a life-long admirer of Rosalee’s unique smile and beauty and is finally able to express what should have been stated long ago. His love is the true fulfillment of romantic longing, something which Tad is good at playing but not at living.
- When Rosalee and her friend watch the films of Tad Hamilton acting, they tell each other than he is like that in real life. Do you believe this innocence to be good or harmful? What happens when we mistake an actor for the characters they play? Does this happen in other ways than just in professional actors’ lives?
- Pete’s inability to express his love to Rosalee almost costs him the love of his life. Why do you think he could not, or would not, tell her how he feels sooner?
- The line that Tad tells Rosalee is actually a truth that Pete tells Tad. How often do you think the lines that a promiscuous person uses are a reflection of a desire of the person receiving the line? Would a line work best on an innocent or worldly person?
- When the film ends in a scene reminiscent of a romantic scene in Tad’s movie, Pete finds himself saying what Tad said, though he can’t believe he is going to say it. Why do you think many men shy away from acting romantic? Are they not romantic or do they not want to “feed a line” to the woman they love?