By Jason Wojciechowski on February 11, 2004 at 6:31 AM
Quick, name a better 25-or-under comedic actor than Topher Grace. None really coming off the top of your head, eh? I'm not sure that there are any. He even managed to do well in a small part in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, showing at least some skill with dramatic acting. Not bad for a guy with essentially no acting experience before That '70's Show.
Back to the movie, though. Austen compared it to the John Hughes / Molly Ringwald classics, but I liked this far better, believe it or not. It had its lame feel-good moments, but they weren't terrible or too ridiculous. The humor, to me, far outweighs those moments, anyway, from the wood-chopping scene that's in all the trailers to Tad Hamilton speaking awful Spanish to his Albanian maid. The LA joke sight gags (everyone talking on their cell phones) were a bit dated and cliche (doesn't everyone have a cell phone now regardless of what city we're in?), but Gary Cole, as Kate Bosworth's dad, wearing a Project Greenlight shirt to try to impress Tad Hamilton was hilarious.
Nathan Lane was hilarious as Richard Levy, Tad's manager, and Sean Hayes was surprisingly funny as Richard Levy (no kidding. One exchange: "You're both Richard Levy?" Lane: "Who isn't?"), Tad's agent. Even Stephen Tobolowsky, recently featured in Los Angeles Magazine's actors' issue, had a small part (one scene) as Topher Grace's boss.
No one's going to mistake this movie for a great romantic comedy, but it had enough redeeming factors that I'm going to refuse to be embarassed for having seen it. At this point, it's on my Top Ten for the year.