What I Remembered: I first saw Hitch when it came out about ten years ago. It was not something that was on my radar as it seemed like just another romantic comedy. But, when the movie that I intended to see was sold out I reluctantly considered seeing it. Not wanting to return to my apartment on a bone chillingly cold New York City Winter night, I decided to give it a shot. I came away pleasantly surprised by it. I thought it was interesting, funny, and had some heart.
Seeing it again recently though my initial impressions have largely faded. Now, don’t get me wrong Hitch does have some good qualities. It has moments of humor, some characters that are endearing, and means well in what it tries to convey. However, in my estimation it does have some flaws too.
The Story: Hitch centers around its main character Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) who goes by the nickname Hitch. Hitch is a charming, decent romantic who claims his profession is a “consultant” when in actuality he works secretly as the “Date Doctor.” This essentially means that men hire him to advise them on how they can woo a woman of their dreams. Hitch often puts together a plan based on the man he is consulting and the woman his client yearns to romance and has had a high success rate in the past. The “Date Doctor” is an urban myth around Manhattan and Hitch has yet to have been identified as being what he is.
One afternoon Hitch meets Albert (Kevin James) a hapless, but decent accountant. Albert is infatuated with Allegra Cole (Amber Valetta) a wealthy socialite whose account he works on. Albert has hired Hitch to help him win Allegra. Hitch knows based on Albert’s general social awkwardness and anxiousness that he has a long road of work ahead of him.
As Hitch is working with Albert he falls for Sara Melas (Eva Mendes) a somewhat cynical gossip columnist for a prestigious newspaper who seems to have given up on the idea of romantic love. Hitch uses the skills that he employs with his clients in trying to begin a relationship with Sara, but soon finds all his well laid plans backfiring.
Technical Details: Hitch does not really stand out all that much in the world of romantic comedies. Andy Tennant’s direction is not bad, but not amazing. He was able to capture the feel of a film of its genre well enough along with social life in Manhattan, but in not too distinct a way from others like it. In addition, Kevin Bisch’s script had moments of humor, some good lines, and certain characters that are likable. However, there were other times where the dialogue was a little cringe worthy, saccharine, and Hitch’s nearly perpetual optimistic out look on life got kind of annoying.
Finally, the performances in it ranged from good to slightly uncomfortable. Will Smith is the epitome of a confident cool guy who also happens to be nice and was great in the starring role. Similarly, Amber Valetta was good as Allegra and she had good chemistry with Kevin James, but Eva Mendes was inconsistent in the role of Sara which is problem I often find with her in a lot of her work. In some scenes her acting was more than satisfactory, and she and Will Smith were believable together. On the other hand there were others where she was was somewhat hard to stomach. This was especially evident during a scene where she and Hitch were having an argument. However, the real surprise for me was Kevin James. He was immensely hilarious and winning as Albert and the interplay between he and Will Smith was pleasant to watch.
End Credits: Hitch was not terrible, but it was not wonderful. It had aspects that worked and some that did not. Maybe my now disappeared youthful optimism and the fact that I came in with low expectations were what helped shape my original reaction towards it. Looking at it with different eyes now, I have lost my reverence for it. You could do a lot worse than Hitch, but don’t expect to be blown away.