Review Date: February 09, 2005
Director: Andy Tennant
Writer: Kevin Bisch
Producers: James Lassiter, Will Smith, Teddy Zee
Will Smith as Hitch
Kevin James as Albert
Eva Mendes as Sara
A highly successful and secretive “date doctor” named Hitch is hired by men from all levels of dating incompetence in the hopes of improving their chances of scoring with women with whom they are in love. The doc’s latest project is an awkward fat man in love with a multi-millionaire hottie. At the same time, cupid himself is smitten by a tabloid news reporter who looks an awful lot like the very sexy Eva Mendes. Yeah, that Eva Mendes! Love and an ideal studio Valentine’s Day weekend opener…ensues.
You know what…I really wasn’t in the “mood” to see this film. I thought the trailer looked like recyclable dogcrap, the over-emphasis on the “dancing scene” between Will Smith and Kevin James was just pissing me off and I’ve been single for as long as the Internet was invented (or does it just feel that long?), so I’m not exactly sure what happened on the way to the end of this movie, but once it was all said and predictably wrapped up in a nice, big, Hollywood bow…I somehow had a smile on my face, a flickering glow in my heart and an erection in my pants (cut me some slack, folks…I’m not a total sap here). Yeah, that’s right…the film “grew on me” and thanks to its fun cast, playful manner, somewhat original concept and handful of memorable sequences, I’m more than happy to recommend this Valentine’s Day cash register, to most any dude or dudette looking to catch something fluffy, but sweet, around the time of year that the rest of us are drinking and eating our weight in Tequila and nachos. I think the thing that won me over the biggest was its cast though. I’ve always been half-and-half on Smith, but he underplayed his part here (he wasn’t Willie Boyee!) and came through, even in a couple of the more touching scenarios. On the other hand, I’ve always been a big fan of James and was glad to see him coming through on the big screen gangbusters (now when is Hollywood gonna give his damn lovely TV wife, Leah Remini, a shot at the big time already?). Add that to a damn fine-looking Eva Mendes in all of her Mendesian glory (think Jennifer Lopez minus the massive ass and attitude) and Cameron Diaz-looking Amber Valetta, and the film is basically a good time on a film reel.
A couple of the film’s early sequences that won me over, in particular, included the first meeting between Smith and Mendes which was both well-written and played out (nice chemistry too), as well as the first back-and-forth between Valetta and James, with Smith hiding behind the door, spitting shit out for our clueless fat man. Despite a predictability factor of 100% and a palm-full of dialogue that crossed over the line separating the clever and insightful quips with those drenched in corn, the film ultimately became my “default” Valentine with its emphasis on the relationships between all involved, as well as its balance between the romantic, humorous, dramatic, touching and just plain cute (yeah, I bloody loved the scene in which Mendes is curled up in her puffy slippers watching the ultimate of romantic comedies, JERRY MAGUIRE). Yes, the ending runs into the generic factor with one “misunderstanding” leading to an “explanation” not accepted by another, leading to the inevitable “showdown” between the lovers, but by that point, I had enjoyed most of my time with these folks, and heck…I even stuck around for the extremely gratuitous and contrived dance sequences at the end, which for some reason…I also quite enjoyed! Yeah, maybe I was just “in the mood” to watch a film of this sort or maybe these folks have just created a damn decent romantic comedy. Either way, check it out if any of what I’ve blabbered about over the past two paragraphs has sparked anything in you. PS: Mendes. Great ass.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian