Directed by: ANDY TENNANT
Written by: KEVIN BISCH
Starring: WILL SMITH, KEVIN JAMES, EVA MENDES, AMBER VALLETTA
Released by: Columbia Pictures
Short: Will Smith is easy to love as a consultant
to the loveless. No wonder this feel-good flick
is being released for Valentine’s Day.
Ahead. Get Hitched.
silly, smart antidote to winter blues.
has all the makings of a crowd-pleaser calculated in some
studio back room, so you can be forgiven for reading the
specs and saying “Ohhhhhhh no.” It’s
got the ever-bankable Will Smith, a formulaic story, sexy
but accomplished female leads, a big TV star, a hip New
York backdrop and an upbeat soundtrack of pop hits. Despite
all that, “Hitch” actually is a crowd-pleaser.
is likeable, almost cuddly, as Alex Hitchens, a “date
doctor” who claims he can teach any man to sweep
any woman off her feet---“You just need the right
broom.” Hitch may be smooth, but he’s not
about the one-night stand. He’s in it for the long
game; to him, the third date is the “high stakes
finds his most untreatable client in Albert Brenneman
(Kevin James of TV’s “King of Queens”),
a meek, sloppy, overweight financial manager prone to
spilling mustard on himself. Smith and James are loads
of fun to watch together (why hasn’t James worked
in more movies?), and when they’re on screen with
their ladies (Eva Mendes as gossip columnist Sara Melas
and Amber Valletta as socialite Allegra Cole), the fireworks
Andy Tennant (“Sweet Home Alabama”) incorporates
more imaginative shots than most would in a mainstream
comedy, and Kevin Bisch’s script offers rare real-world
romantic advice, especially for you gentlemen (e.g. for
that first kiss, go 90 percent of the way and then let
her meet you). And although Hitch is the one dishing out
words of wisdom, the unflappable Sara even gets to counsel
a lovelorn friend with, “You’re not sick.
story may be a little predictable and the pace goes a
bit wobbly in the knees toward the end, but “Hitch”
delivers where it counts. Go with someone you like, and
see if you don’t get a next date out of it.