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"Hitch"

Directed by Andy Tennant ("Anna and the King", "Sweet Home Alabama").
Written by Kevin Bisch.
Starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James and Amber Valletta.
Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  2/16/05

Folks-- 

My friend Derwin "Holla" Hylton (you know, the one that rolled to SoBe) sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago after seeing a free preview of the new romantic comedy "Hitch":

"[My girlfriend] Athena and I got a chance to see an advance screening of that new movie HITCH with Willie Smith and homeboy from the King of Queens.  Hands down a damn entertaining movie, that although cheesy at times…was the GOOD CHEESE.  The kind of cheese that when it drops on your plate or in the paper wrapper it came in, you can't wait to let it congeal a little bit, then you pick up the paper and lick it off.  Kinda like a leftover treat right before you eat the last bite of your sausage egg and cheese McGriddle!!!  I want to see your thoughts on this movie, cuz I thought it had it all.  One of the few movies where a chick will want to see it cuz it's really a chick flick, but it's aimed at the male audience for the most part."

I have to say, Derwin nailed it for me; this is one of those rarities, a romantic comedy that actually was written and designed to entertain men, but women will want to see it too thanks to a smooth cast and some really funny stuff thrown into the mix.

I was choking on all of the formula bits in "Hitch", but you suck it up thanks to a plot device that allows us to focus on not one, but two couplings on the rise.  "The Date Doctor", aka Alex Hitchens (Will Smith), is a successful dating consultant in New York that helps guys negotiate that tricky first-three-date period with women (Hitch only seems to help straight couples; I was surprised this wasn't addressed at any point).  Naturally, Hitch is the preacher but not a subscriber to his own beliefs, so he himself has avoided the love bug...until he meets Sara (Eva Mendes), a gossip columnist that is also a big-time commitmentphobe.  Meanwhile, Hitch is working with a new client, a goofy butterball accountant named Albert (Kevin James, from "The King of Queens"); Albert is hot for Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta), a rich and beautiful heiress that is a client of Albert's firm.  With Hitch's help, Albert hopes to start a long-term relationship...and both men learn from each other that blah blah blah.

Normally films like this start off just fine and devolve into sappy romantic movie bullshit for me; surprisingly, "Hitch" is a pretty funny film throughout that happens to be romantic at the appropriate times.  Smith is great, but it's James who keeps the truck hummin'...his Albert is naturally the clumsiest, goofiest, most ineligible bachelor ever until he meets Hitch, but even given his setup it's fun watching him land the affections of Allegra as the film wears on.  Even though you've seen it a million times in the trailer, the sequence where Hitch shows Albert what to do and what NOT to do while dancing at a club is the movie's best sequence.  By the time Albert is showing Hitch his "Q-Tip" move, man, I was fuckin' losin' it.  Smith's versatility allows for him to mostly sit back and play a more reserved lead than he normally does; most of the one-liners that populate Smith's movies ("I, Robot" had a ton of them, but they mostly worked out) are absent here, which is perfect...as the smooth-talking Hitch, you have no problem buying that Smith could be this guy were it not for the fact that he's married with a kid or two in real life.

I was surprised about more than the fact that I kinda liked this film--somehow, the filmmakers made Eva Mendes look...well, not blazin', smokin', crazy-out-of-this-world hot in "Hitch."  She's attractive, and that will always be the case, but if this is the first film you have seen with Mendes, I think you might come away thinkin', "Shit, girl...what's all the hype about with that one?  She don't look that good to me!"  Whereas for me, I didn't think Mendes was looking as good as she has in "2 Fast 2 Furious", or "All About the Benjamins."  Ahh, maybe it's just me.  I don't remember seeing Valletta in anything else, but I thought she was a great foil to James' antics as he tried to make the moves all movie long.

As I said earlier, the film is beyond predictable; it works from a tried-and-true blueprint for this genre, so even as I sat through the near-ending I just sat around waiting for the kiss-and-make-up bit that came two minutes later.  And, the film goes through a myriad of "we won't even bother to explain this" scenes, like my favorite, where we get to see the apartments of the two leads; apparently, gossip columnists and dating consultants make six-figure incomes, because living in beautiful apartments in New York City is quite easy for these two.  (I'll admit, you can't get caught up in the details in movies like this, but still.)  And, the soundtrack for "Hitch"--when it wasn't doling out the hip-hop tracks--is flat-out awful...I kept looking for a razor every time we went into feeling mode.

But, I have to say...I enjoyed myself while watching "Hitch", thanks to a funny script and enough to keep you busy between the two couples that you were never bogged down.  See, if more romantic comedies really did appeal to both men and women, I might...MIGHT...like them more.

...

No I wouldn't.

Rating:  $9.50 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09