There’s a Little “Hitch” in His Get-along
“Hitch” (Will Smith) is a professional date doctor. He helps men get through the nervousness they experience when they are pursuing the woman of their dreams. His latest client, Albert (Kevin James, TV’s “The King of Queens”), a portly CPA, is smitten with Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta), an heiress whose every romance is plastered across the tabloids. Hitch agrees to take Albert on as a client, because he likes the challenge. Also pursuing Allegra Cole is Sara (Eva Mendes), the star reporter for one of those tabloids. Hitch spots her in a crowded bar one night and strikes up a conversation. Hitch and Sara’s dates are disasters, but they agree to keep trying. As Albert becomes closer to Allegra, Hitch is still trying to pursue Sara, as she tries to pursue the elusive Albert.
“Hitch”, released rather fortuitously the Friday before Valentine’s Day, broke a number of box office records it’s opening weekend. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Everything about the film is designed to make women go ‘aaaah, Will Smith is so cute.’
The film is a pleasant diversion, but it only works sporadically. The film is at it’s best when the story centers on Albert, the Kevin James character. He has a couple of scenes of inspired comedy, which surely must have been adlibbed. One scene, in which he demonstrates to Hitch how he would dance is the funniest thing I have seen in some time. Another nice touch to Albert’s character is that although he is portly, this isn’t necessarily the cause of his nervousness. He's just nervous around women. It doesn’t help that he is pursuing one of the most beautiful socialites in New York, but it’s nice to see a big guy portrayed in a film that isn’t a slob or completely useless.
Unfortunately, there is also the part of the film that concentrates on Hitch’s relationship with Sara. I guess the filmmakers felt that they needed something a little more grounded to balance out the film. Smith and Mendes are certainly likable enough as actors, and their first date is slightly amusing. But this is the relationship in the film where nothing works. They get in fights, have miscommunication, have bad feelings, in others words, like a real life courtship. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to see Will Smith, in a comedy, in a relationship attempting to be real life. It brings the entire film down. This story line might have been more successful but there is also a lack of chemistry between them. They don’t kiss until the end, and by that point, we have sat through about 60 minutes of this. It’s too little, too late.
The funniest bit with Smith is the very beginning of the film as we eavesdrop on him working with three clients. Its fun to watch how he helps them win the ladies of their dreams.
The technical aspect of the film is okay. The fairly straight forward approach works for the story. Everyone lives in a great apartment in New York City, enjoys going out all the time and are basically burning up the town. They must all make a lot of money. What “Hitch” does well is provide a very nice portrait of New York City. It looks like a fun place to live.
Too bad the film doesn’t provide as much enjoyment as living in New York seems to for these characters.