Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004)

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Released 17-Aug-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 92:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:38) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Robert Luketic
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Kate Bosworth
Topher Grace
Josh Duhamel
Nathan Lane
Sean Hayes
Gary Cole
Ginnifer Goodwin
Kathryn Hahn
Octavia Spencer
Amy Smart
Ren Trostle
Wendy Worthington
Stephen Tobolowsky
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music John Mayer
Ed Shearmur


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Let me start by saying I'm not a big fan of romantic comedies - they're usually very formulaic and predictable, as well as often being too sickly sweet and unbelievable to swallow. So why did I review this DVD? If a romantic comedy is original and done well, then I can enjoy them as much as the next man (or woman), and I'd heard some good things about this movie. Plus, whenever I have friends come over to watch movies and their wives want a romantic comedy, I've never got anything suitable! So did this movie deliver or was it just "same again please"? Like the movie itself, the answer isn't really cut and dried.

    Rosalee Futch (Kate Bosworth) is a small-town girl from Middle America, working in a supermarket as a checkout attendant (or whatever the correct term is these days). Her life is simple yet happy, and the moral standards of the town she lives in seem to reflect those of the 1950s rather than the current day. She spends most of her time with her two best friends, Pete (Topher Grace) and Cathy (Ginnifer Goodwin), and much of that time is spent at the movies, where the latest Hollywood heart-throb (Tad Hamilton - Josh Duhamel) is usually in the starring role.

    Rosalee and Cathy are both completely taken in by the clean-cut, boy next door characters that Tad plays, and are convinced he must be like that in real life. The truth of course is somewhat different, but only Pete (who's secretly in love with Rosalee) seems to have any grasp on reality where Tad is concerned.

    Anyway, as the title would suggest, Rosalee ends up winning a competition that rewards her with a trip to Hollywood and a date with badboy Tad. The date goes better than expected, and Tad is rather taken with Rosalee's pure and simple outlook on life. In fact Tad, who is starting to reflect on his own shallow life, is so intrigued by Rosalee that he follows her home. This of course is where the real story kicks in, as Pete sees the love of his life being taken away by a flashy Hollywood actor, but isn't capable of stopping the turn of events.

    If you're thinking "well this sure does sound formulaic so far", then you'd be right, and these were my thoughts exactly. However, despite having the standard characters (outspoken best friend, caring guy who's too scared to confess love, flashy guy who sweeps girl off feet, and so on), the story doesn't just serve them up to you as you'd expect. You start to realise that it isn't really black and white; Tad isn't just using Rosalee, as he actually does want to change and has genuine feelings for her. Also, in his jealousy, Pete doesn't always behave in an honourable and perfect fashion. It's not the standard good guy vs. bad guy, with the girl finally seeing the light, since it actually becomes an almost believable choice for Rosalee in the end. I say "almost", because it's still a romantic comedy, and doesn't really reflect real life as I know it.

    Any guy who's ever felt for a girl, and seen her taken from under his nose by an example of manhood he can never match, will really relate to Pete, and feel for him. On the other hand, any guy who's met a girl that made him want to change for the better and be good enough for her, will be able to understand where Tad is coming from (even if he uses some underhanded means to ensure not losing the one he cares about).

    The humour element is present in this film, but is not really its strongest point. A lot of the humour is based on the contrast between Hollywood people (for example Tad's managers), and the simple, innocent 1950s-style small-town residents. It's not the first time we've seen this idea, and the film doesn't really bring anything new or innovative to the table in this department. The other weight of comedy falls on the shoulders of Pete, and I must admit this brings me to one of my biggest gripes with the movie. I felt that we really needed to be wanting Pete to come good, but his character is so often just a fast-quipping Matthew Perry clone that I sometimes found myself wondering what made him so worthy of Rosalee. If he'd been less sarcastic and smart-alec, I'm sure I would have been a lot more on his side. Admittedly there are one or two deleted scenes which let you see what a decent bloke Pete is, but I think there needed to be more of these included in the final cut.

    All up though, I actually found myself getting involved in this movie, and enjoying it for what it is. It's not a huge film, and the actors aren't exactly A-list, but they do a decent job for the most part and keep the viewer interested in what's going to happen to their lives. That's pretty high praise from someone who isn't a fan of the genre, and if you're planning a movie night where females will be present, I'd recommend this as something that might keep both sexes happy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Dreamworks once again delivers the goods, with there really being very little to comment on in this transfer (in the good sense).

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This ratio is suitably close to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    Sharpness and detail levels are well up to scratch on this transfer, with everything being crystal clear. It's quite a bright film in general, but when there are darker scenes the shadow detail is good, with solid black levels.

    This movie is largely bright and colourful, and the transfer displays it beautifully with solid colours which jump out of the screen at you, displaying no visible problems whatsoever.

    I didn't see any noticeable film to video artefacts, which is testament to the fact that you can have a nice sharp transfer without aliasing being a problem. Film artefacts were also absent.

    There are 3 subtitle streams on this disc; English for the Hearing Impaired, German, and Turkish. I sampled the English ones, which were easy to read and nearly spot on for accuracy. Lyrics to songs being played in the background were even included.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change taking place at 60:38. It's very well placed and hardly noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This DVD contains 2 audio tracks; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s). I listened to the English track only.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, with good volume levels in comparison to background noises/music. Audio sync is also spot-on.

    The musical score by Ed Shearmur is fairly nondescript, and is completely overshadowed by the frequent use of recent songs anyway. I'm sure these songs will date, meaning in 20 years time this soundtrack will probably be as amusing as a 1980s "popular" soundtrack is today.

    Surround usage is very minimal, but is not something you'd expect a lot of in this genre of movie anyway. Music is the main utiliser of your surround channels, with only the occasional sound effect (listen out for the ringing phones once we arrive in Hollywood).

    The subwoofer barely comes into play, with only the bass in the music getting any benefit from the LFE channel.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    Menus are 16x9 enhanced, with music and clips from the movie looping in the background of most of them.

Deleted Scenes (21:53)

    16 deleted/extended/alternate scenes, including an alternate opening and ending to the movie. The scenes are titled as follows:

    Most of these scenes were obviously cut for a reason, but there are some that are worth watching, and add a little to the story/characters.

Gag reel (8:12)

    Every time I see a gag reel from a US-made movie I fear the worst. Sometimes I'm proven totally wrong, and it's an absolute hoot. Sometimes I'm not. This time I wasn't. I have no idea why they decided to make this thing run for 8:12, since you could have actually extracted the funny bits and had a mildly amusing 1:30.

Photo Gallery

    30 colour images taken on set during shooting. Most of them could almost be screen grabs from the movie, but some have the actors in "natural" mode.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The differences between the two regions are so minor that I'm going to call this one a tie, due to our version being PAL.

Summary

    A half-decent little movie, which might surprise those of you who normally steer clear of romantic comedies.

    The video transfer is excellent.

    The audio transfer is more than acceptable for a film of this type.

    Extras aren't exactly "meaty", with 16 deleted scenes being the bulk of them.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Obviously not a romantic comedy person - Anonymous
RE: Obviously not a romantic comedy person - Darque