Movie Review
Hitch poster
By Craig Younkin     Published February 12, 2005
US Release: February 11, 2005

Directed by: Andy Tennant
Starring: Will Smith , Eva Mendes , Kevin James , Amber Valletta

Running Time: 115 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $178,505,000
Too often the film resorts to something irrational or acts of foolishness in order to get a laugh.
Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) is the date doctor who can help any man get the woman of his dreams in just three dates. His skills are put to the test with Albert (Kevin James), a dorky klutz who is interested in the wealthy Allegra Cole (Amber Valleta). Alex teaches Albert the tricks of the trade including back shaving, dancing, and kissing. Soon, Albert is courting Miss Cole around New York, which strikes the interest of gossip columnist Sara (Eva Mendes). It doesn't take long before she and Hitch are starting a relationship of their own.

Hitch is this year's Valentine's Day movie, meaning that it doesn't have to try very hard to get people's hearts a-flutter. The central story is sweet enough, being about the hardships a nice guy must face in proving that he's in love, and director Andy Tennant sets up some very funny physical comedy bits. Only what the film seems to be missing is sincerity.

First time screenwriter Kevin Bisch preaches and dissects romance from every angle, but beneath all these words of wisdom is a very empty movie. Much of the romance seems odd, particularly a first date to Ellis Island where Hitch introduces Sarah to her family's origins. The rest of their scenes together exist solely in the physical comedy realm, focusing on characters getting kicked in the head and developing puffy faces after a food allergy. Even though it's fun to laugh at these characters, we are never given much of a reason to care about them. This is something Bisch seems well aware of, being that the ending tries very hard to finalize a romance that just doesn't seem to be there.

Will Smith and Eva Mendes do try to make it work. Smith is a decent leading man, letting his charm and his ability to make fun of himself be his guide. Mendes is even better; she gives Sara a tough exterior, protecting herself and her friends from creeps and the like. Watching these two I was given the impression that this movie could have been so much better had they just been allowed to play it straight. Their scenes lack witty writing, as too often the film resorts to something irrational or acts of foolishness in order to get a laugh. The addition of Kevin James is an added bonus, however, as he lamely stumbles, kisses, and dances his way to being the funniest part of the movie.

At one point a character watches a famous scene from Jerry Maguire between Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger, and you realize how far this movie is from being something truly special. Hitch is neither good nor bad and is actually just absurd in almost every way. It?s funny in a dumb sort of way and the cast does their best to carry the lecture-like writing, but it's missing a key ingredient that the filmmakers probably thought the holiday would take care of: romance.
Craig's Grade: C+
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'Hitch' Articles
  • Friday Box Office Analysis (2/11)
    February 12, 2005    {What Women Want} didn?t cross over, racially, as significantly as Hitch has the potential for, which could help in a stronger {Saturday} increase. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Weekend Outlook Chat (Feb. 11 - 13)
    February 10, 2005    "I see it as going after many of the people who showed up to What Women Want ($33.6 million). Adjusted for ticket inflation, that?s $38.8 million." -- Staff of LMI