February 14, 2005

“Hitch” – A Movie Review

A Playful Romp Through New York's Dating Scene
by Fred H. Arm
That former “Man In Black”, Will Smith, changes his MO and appears as Alex "Hitch" in a delightful romantic comedy as a publicity shy, yet formidable professional dating consultant known as the “Date Doctor”. His expensive clientele consisting of eligible Manhattan bachelors are taught such basics as that one communicates with his body language, posture, mood, and attitude about oneself. Nothing a man can say will impress a woman nearly as much as the nonverbal messages she receives. So, stand up straight, my fat friend and stop slouching around as if your tummy can be hidden in the shadows.

In the dog eat dog world of New York romances, where destinies are decided in an instant, the common “Lonely Guy” is in desperate need of skilled counseling and Hitch is just the man you need. He understands women. He knows how to get their attention, how to seem heroic in their eyes, what to say, and definitely what not to say.

For one of Hitch’s clients, Albert (Kevin James), the romantic quarry seems hopelessly beyond his reach. Albert is in love with a rich, powerful, and beautiful Allegra (Amber Valletta), who surely would not consider dating a shy and pudgy accountant like him. Or would she? At a board meeting, Allegra is being advised on how to spend her money by the stodgy board members. Albert is outraged by the investment advice she is being given, and in a splendid dramatic splash, he tells them off and resigns. That definitely gets her attention. She is quite touched that Albert would care so much about her investments.

But then how can the simple Albert follow up? He is one of those guys whose shirts seem to come back from the laundry with the ketchup stains already there. Ergo, Hitch has his work cut out for him as he desperately works to smooth out his act, clean him up, and give him some class.

Meanwhile, Hitch’s own romantic life is badly in need of some major repair. He falls in love with a stunning Latina, Sara (Eva Mendes), who is not only smart and cynical; she is also secretly keen on exposing the “Date Doctor” as a charlatan in her assignment writing for a gossip column. None of his own expert advice seems to work for Hitch. Perhaps in that delicate game of romantic chess the wily Sara can see many moves ahead, possibly because (can this be likely?), he is blowing it and losing his cool by trying too hard.

"Hitch," you will have perceived, is not a great cinematic breakthrough, yet it is smart, witty and a whole lot of fun. Sara as a stunning brunette is not quite as unapproachable as she seems. Nevertheless, Sara is a real challenge, portrayed as the kind of woman who seems more desirable the more she seems unattainable.
The premise is intriguing and playful, and for a time it seems that the Date Doctor may indeed know a lot of things about women that most men generally overlook or are ignorant of. The dialogue is smart, witty, and generates many a knowing laugh. The ending is predicable and formulaic, however it leaves one feeling good. Isn’t that what going to the movies is all about? If you like to laugh, feel good, and vicariously follow the chic single New York urban scene through its stumbles, hurtles, and games, you will love this film.

Posted by fredarm at February 14, 2005 10:00 PM