Hitch (2005) starring Will Smith, Kevin James, Eva Mendes, Amber Valletta, Julie Ann Emery, Robinne Lee, Nathan Lee Graham, Adam Arkin directed by Andrew Tennant Movie Review

Hitch (2005)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Will Smith and Kevin James in Hitch

Love is Never Hitch Free

For some men, getting a date can be a problem, a terrifying experience which can leave you embarrassed, disappointed and emotionally scarred for life. But in New York, help is at hand, for there lives a legendary man with the ability to put you on the road to a happy relationship within just three dates. Alex 'hitch' Hitchens (Will Smith - I, Robot) is the 'date doctor', a semi-mythical being whose amazing ability to understand the romantic psyche of a woman precedes him. Called into action by Albert Brennaman (Kevin James - 50 First Dates) a slightly clumsy and unlucky in love accountant. Hitch has to call upon all his ability to mould him into the perfect date material, as the object of his affection is the beautiful, society heiress Allegra Cole, a woman completely out of his league. Nut at the same time tabloid journalist Sara Melas (Eva Mendes - Stuck on You) decides to uncover the identity and the truth behind the mysterious 'date doctor'. To her horror she discovers that the legendary man is in fact Alex, the man she has been dating and falling in love with.

It is very unusual for me to find a movie amongst the recent crop of romantic comedies which firstly appeals to men as well as women, but also has me in stitches, but this is exactly what "Hitch" achieves. As with the majority of romantic comedies, the basis of the plot follows the traditional formula of man meets woman, they fall in love, something goes wrong, but get it together by the end. Where "Hitch" succeeds in a genre where many fail, is the situation where the plot is worked. The concept of the 'date doctor' is a refreshing change and the fact that the basis of the plot not only affects his relationship but also that of his current client adds a decent twist.

Eva Mendes as Sara Melas in Hitch

Another huge reason why "Hitch" works, and is a major reason why it appeals to men, is the comedy of not only Will Smith but also Kevin James, especially when they are working together. The majority of the humour comes from visual gags, whether it is Albert demonstrating why he is inept at dating or as the ultra cool Hitch coming a cropper from an usual clumsy mistake. One of the funniest scenes in the movie, is watching Albert demonstrate to Hitch is dancing skills, I am pretty sure I have seen those exact moves used at a few wedding receptions. All the humour is very clean and inoffensive, but still manages to have you laughing out loud, whether you recognize something from your own experiences or just the clumsiness of the stars.

In the lead role of Alex 'Hitch' Hitchens is Will Smith and is perfectly cast as the ultra smooth 'date doctor'. Not only does he ooze charisma but also displays a wealth of comic talent, some subtle but some just hilarious. A typical scene is where he tries to mount the back of his dates jet bike and accidentally knocks her off by kicking her in the face, not the best way to impress her. Opposite Will Smith is Kevin James as Albert Brennaman. James puts in a performance that matches that of Smith's, not only in the comedy stakes but also in the ability to effectively portray his character. The third important role is that of Sara Melas, played by the stunning Eva Mendes. Yet another masterful piece of casting as Mendas comes over as not only conventionally attractive, but also as a head strong journalist who softens her approach to love by the end of the movie.

"Hitch" is directed by Andy Tennant, who has previously made his mark in the romantic comedy genre with films such as "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Fools Rush In". Tennant has done an exceptional job of making "Hitch" stand head and shoulders above all over recent romantic comedies. Part of the reason is that he has maintained the emphasis on the story throughout, and has used the actor's performances and comedy to enhance the movie. With a romantic comedy you can pretty much know what to expect from the soundtrack and this one certainly doesn't disappoint, with tracks coming from The Temptations, Sam Cooke, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and the O'Jays to name just a few.

What this all boils down to is that for me "Hitch" makes a refreshing change from the predictable run of the mill movies which fill the genre of romantic comedy. "Hitch" manages to entertain you on all levels, even though the underlying plot is the same tried and tested formula used in the majority of romantic comedies. Part of the reason why "Hitch" succeeds is that it does not fall into the trap of being over sentimental, and provides enough laughter to appeal to male audiences.