Hitch (2005) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language and some sexual humor
Running Time: 115 min.
Cast: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta, Julie Ann Emery, Robinne Lee, Nathan Lee Graham, Adam Arkin, Michael Rapaport, Jeffrey Donovan
Director: Andy Tennant
Screenplay: Kevin Bisch
Hitch is a surprisingly smart and fine-tuned romantic comedy that makes up for its genre-specific clichťs with acute characterizations and affecting charm. While it never really deviates from its predetermined formula, with romantic comedies itís not the destination that determines success, but rather the way you travel. Hitch glides smooth from beginning to end without a hitch (no pun intended).
Will Smith (Shark Tale, I Robot) gets the starring role as Alex Hitchens (aka Hitch), who has a niche career as a love coach of sorts for desperate men with no game of their own. His latest client proves to be a challenge a stocky, short and socially inept accountant named Albert (Kevin James, "The King of Queens"). Albertís real problem isnít just turning around his image to get any woman he wants one of the hottest media babes in the world, in the form of the wealthy daughter of the company he works for, international playgirl Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta, Duplex). Hitch has enough on his plate when he finds himself in a budding romance of his own, with a take-no-crap gossip columnist, Sara (Eva Mendes, Stuck on You), who just so happens to be writing the latest scoop on Allegra and her potential new beau.
Hitch is the sort of movie where the small, amusing moments eventually result in comedy with a natural momentum of its own, hitting every beat with its own style and charismatic finesse. The success of the film rests a great deal on the shoulders of Will Smith, who seems perfectly at home in the middle of the sitcom antics (the Fresh Prince did earn his acting chops on TV comedy), while allowing his supporting cast to have their moments to shine. A definite scene-stealer is Kevin James as the hapless Albert, who is loveable for all the things he does wrong than he does right, resulting in the filmís biggest laughs.
It isnít all perfect, as there are moments of coincidence that defy suspension of disbelief, but in the world of romantic comedies, these sorts of serendipitous events are par for the course. The real question is whether or not the film delivers the laughs, heartfelt confrontations, and choice bits of drama to satisfy. By all accounts, it is a success.
Hitch is directed with confidence by Andy Tennant, who has been on a string of romantic comedies with Sweet Home Alabama, Ever After, and Fools Rush In. Hitch may be his most efficiently mounted film yet, thanks in large part to the outstanding cast chemistry, where every actor appears to enjoy cutting loose with the material. The good cheer is infectious, and by the time the credits roll, youíll probably realize that you had a good time right along with them. Itís a feel-good movie, through and through, so if youíre in the mood for a well-made date flick, Hitch definitely delivers.
©2005 Vince Leo