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Hitch /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Michael Rapaport, Ato Essandoh

Directed by: Andy Tennant

Produced by: Will Smith, James Lassiter, Teddy Zee
Written by:
Kevin Bisch
Columbia Pictures


Will Smith and Kevin James in Columbia Pictures' Hitch

Kevin James and Will Smith in Columbia Pictures' Hitch

Will Smith and Eva Mendes in Columbia Pictures' Hitch

     Andy Tennant’s Hitch is a movie that is noticeably a lot less fun for moviegoers to watch than it was for the cast to make. Throughout the entire duration, the stars are all smiles, but the audience will never really feel as though they are in on the joke. Sure, I laughed a few times when watching the movie, but in no way did I ever feel as though it was wholly entertaining. Had Hitch had a stronger romantic side to support its inconsistent comedy, it could have been delightful. Unfortunately, the relationship between Will Smith and Eva Mendes’ characters is mostly made up of stale clichés and eye-rolling moments. I wanted to love this film—I really did—but it never showed me to any material of particular interest.

     Hitch’s first half shows definite promise. From the get-go Tennant’s snappy talent behind the camera is instantly made clear. We are first introduced to our protagonist, Alex Hitchens (Smith)—but call him Hitch—a modern-day date-doctor who helps men who are… romantically-impaired. Hitch holds daily appointments with his clients, in which he assesses each one’s compatibility with women and prepares them to win over their dream-date.

     The opening scenes, which help the viewer understand the basics of Hitch’s work, are executed in the fashion of some sort of entertaining tutorial video. They certainly serve the purpose of hooking audience members in, and do so well. From them springs a stage which sets up Hitch’s finding his own girlfriend (Mendes’ Sara). There is also a subplot in the film which involves his aiding CPA Albert (Kevin James, who might just be Keenan Thompson’s white cousin) in winning over rich-hottie Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). However, after Hitch’s premise is cemented and its first forty-five minutes of good material is exhausted, it becomes very boring. By the time it reaches its last act, the movie feels extremely irritating, as the writing and direction provide us with no reason to care for the characters.

     I went into Hitch realizing that it would not carry any emotional resonance, but I never imagined that it would make for such an apathetic experience. Flowing in a manner that seems very episodic, one could call the movie a commercial for New York City. At first, I took this approach as a fine setup for the story. Little did I know, Hitch would never even have much of a story to tell. On their dates, Hitch and Sara jet-ski on gorgeous blue water, visit Ellis Island, and kick back in their cozy (not to mention expensive) apartments. There is no doubt that these are all fun activities to partake in, but watching them is of no such pleasure. Nothing happens in this movie; hardly any plot or poignancy is developed, by the end. Only those with raging obsessions for Smith and Mendes will actually care about what is happening to their characters, in the final two acts. The rest of the audience will simply envy the two leads because of the fact that they were able to amuse themselves with the material, when filming Hitch, much more than viewers are able to, watching it.

     If you own a television set or have attended the cinema at some point during the past six months, you have probably seen the previews for Hitch, and laughed at them. Indeed, they are very funny, but the scenes which they belong to are also just about the only entertaining parts of the movie (aside from those at the very beginning). The rest of it is simply a slew of detached mediocrity, sparsely proficient but mostly drowning in its own indifference. Smith, Mendes, and James have their moments, yes, but I’ll surely forget about all of their performances by the end of the year. I suppose the joke-dance-sequences that the cast members share, at the end of Hitch, best sum the film up, as a whole. During their first ten seconds, the viewer may say “Wow…that looks fun…,” but, once all is said and done, the fact that they are entirely hollow is realized. Some movies are good, others bad, but Hitch is just downright unfulfilling. Contrived and commercial, it represents one of the dullest movie-going experiences I’ve had in 2005, so far.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (2.25.2004)

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