Smith is a very charming and likable actor who in general has really bad
taste in projects. He's made his name as a movie star in a series of
bad sci-fi films (Independence Day, Men In Black, I Robot)
However, surprisingly, this is his first romantic comedy, unless you count
his cameo in Jersey Girl or his long-ago sitcom The Fresh Prince
of Bel Air.
Well, on the evidence of Hitch, it is a long overdue career path.
This is by far Smith's best film since... well, ever.
Which is not to say that Hitch is a great film. It is not.
However, it is a sweet, funny, romantic story that skims over some story problems
on the strength of several really nice performances.
Smith plays Alex Hitchens, a legendary "date doctor" in modern Manhattan who
insists that he can take any guy, even the biggest loser, and help him win
over any woman no matter how beautiful she is. It's a sweet, fanciful
premise (though if you get technical its storyline is even more science
fiction than Men In Black was).
Hitch will teach the guy how to dress, how to listen, how to act, how to
talk to the women. He flies under the radar, all of his jobs are
through referrals by happy former clients and Hitch will not give the people
any information on himself until he has decided to take them on. He
will only help men who truly respect and love the women. (In one
scene, he dramatically refuses a Wall Street power broker who is just trying
to get laid.)
Hitch's latest case is that of Albert Brennaman (Kevin James of TV's The
King of Queens). Brennaman is fat, sloppy, clumsy, insecure and
dances like a white guy. However, Hitch also sees the good in him, and
sees that he is genuinely in love, so he takes him on as a client.
make things even more complicated, the woman that Albert is smitten with is
Allegra Cole (Amber Valetta), a beautiful, rich heiress who is a staple of
the New York gossip columns (think an older, prettier, more grounded and more talented Paris
Hilton). Albert works for the law firm that handles her financial
affairs and has been pining for her from afar for years.
Hitch helps to polish the guy up, giving him tips on conversation and
listening, dancing and personal hygiene (and yes, that does include a back
waxing). When Albert is ready, he captures Allegra's attention by
standing up for her during a business meeting, going against his bosses
wishes. Then he dramatically quits (though the fact that he has given
up his job is never mentioned again and he keeps going to work there
Despite being named after an
allergy medication, it turns out that Allegra is just a normal gal.
She appreciates it that Albert would speak up for her and treats her just like
anyone else, despite the fact that she is wealthy enough to buy and sell
the meantime, the good doctor meets a beautiful tabloid gossip columnist
named Sara (Eva Mendes). Sara is a hard-boiled career woman who
insists that she has no time for romance, but is really just waiting to be
swept off her feet. You know that Hitch is in love, because instead of
being his normal assured, suave self, he is suddenly a walking disaster
area. However she thinks he's cute so she's willing to give him a
one of the many coincidences and stretches of logic in the plot, it turns
out that the Wall Street lothario who Hitch refused seduces Sara's best
friend and blames it on Hitch. So Sara goes off of her 24/7 Allegra
to write an article to prove that the date doctor is not just an urban myth.
Okay, we're not talking Oscar caliber story-telling here, but it is a fun
and cute romantic trifle. Both couples generate sufficient chemistry
to keep the audience on board with the love story. Truth is though,
the best scenes in Hitch are the ones when the girls aren't around
and Smith and James are able to work their comic riffs off of each other.
That's when Hitch produces some real heat.
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Posted: February 19, 2005.