Film Reviews

HITCH

By • Feb 11th, 2005 •

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Columbia Pictures / Overbrook Entertainment
MPAA rating: PG-13 / Running time — 116 minutes

QUOTE: Smith has another hit, James beats pal Ray Romano to movie stardom, and acting lessons pay off for a supermodel.

This is a chick flick spiced up with a straight buddy couple and enough dating “wisdom” to allow guys to tolerate the nodding of their wives and girlfriends.

Let’s face it: Diminutive, ugly men do bed famous women but they have billions of dollars. Aristotle Onassis still holds first place in this category. Supermodel Heidi Klum recently had a baby with 20+ years older Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, well-known for his affairs with models. Supermodel Stephanie Seymour (post Axl Rose) married publishing czar Peter Brant. Celebrities do marry their bodyguards (Roseanne Barr and Patty Hearst come quickly to mind) and “royalty” sometimes marries both their bodyguards and circus performers (Princess Stephanie of Monaco really hates her father).

So it comes down to these two prerequisites: Money or Proximity.

Albert Brennaman (Kevin James) has “proximity” to his ideal woman. Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta) is so rich she makes Paris Hilton look like a swag-loving scavenger. Albert is an accountant in the firm handling Allegra’s vast financial holdings. How can he make Allegra notice him in a conference room filled with guys in suits hanging on every tilt of her head?

There is an urban myth running through New York City that there is a “Dating Doctor” who can hook up any guy – for a price – with his dream woman. The Dating Doctor is Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith). He is charming, super-sincere, and really admires women. Women interest him! If you are looking just to take a woman to bed, Hitch will not help you. He has integrity and a moral code. You see, most men are buffoons around women and insensitive to a woman’s real needs. Women want to be appreciated.

Just one thing: Hitch doesn’t have a successful relationship with a woman to boast about. He knows about clothes, attitude, style, and how not to dance in public. He knows how to get a man in a woman’s sight-line. That is all it takes. Hitch will stay with a client until the match-up works out and the woman has a chance to notice how sweet, vulnerable, and worthy a man is.

Hitch does not advertise. He runs a referral-only business. Well paid, Hitch lives a very charmed life in a fabulous apartment.

For most women in the U.S. not pursued by a Greek millionaire burning money, Hitch delivers a first date extravaganza. Here is how he pursues an attractive lady, gossip reporter Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), he sees at a bar: Witty conversation and then he leaves. Next day, she receives a messenger-delivered package with a phone (I saw that in a little indie film called THE MATRIX), then there is the expensive scuba suit in her size. Their first date takes place at 7 A.M. at the North Cove Yacht Harbor. He has two Jet Skis ready. He takes her to Ellis Island where his buddy has found her ancestor’s signature in the book of arrivals.

With Sara, Hitch is a confused mess. Nothing he does works. He stumbles. His face blows up due to food poisoning. He’s hopeless. He’s adorable! And then here it comes: Not only does he listen to Sara when she talks, he listens to the emotional texture of her words. It’s the “You had me at hello” scene.

HITCH embraces the religious fervor sweeping our country. No one has sex before marriage. Everyone falls in love before becoming intimate!

HITCH is a smash hit because it is skillfully constructed to hit every successful mark: Hitch is enchanting, Albert is silly, Sara is clever and whip-it smart, and no woman is treated like a sex object. The director, Andy Tennant, has crafted a well-structured romantic comedy that both men and women will enjoy. Smith is his delicious, charming self and very likeable. James is a wonderful fat-buddy, and Mendes is sensational. She is easy-going with a wonderful comedic touch. And that supermodel-turned-actress? We’ll be seeing more of Valletta.


Cast:
Alex “Hitch” Hitchens: Will Smith
Sara Melas: Eva Mendes
Albert Brennaman: Kevin James
Allegra Cole: Amber Valletta
Ben: Michael Rapaport
Max Trundle: Adam Arkin

Credits:
Director: Andy Tennant
Screenwriter: Kevin Bisch
Producers: James Lassiter, Will Smith, Teddy Zee
Executive producers: Michael Tadross, Wink Mordaunt
Director of photography: Andrew Dunn
Production designer: Jane Musky
Editors: Troy Takaki, Tracey Wadmore-Smith
Costume designer: Marlene Stewart
Music: George Fenton

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