Will Smith hopes February will be as kind to him as July has been. In this romantic comedy directed by Andy Tennant (Sweet Home Alabama), Smith stars as Alex Hitch Hitchens, a guy who knows how to make a good first impression and whos willing to teach men the ropes for a price. As New Yorks date doctor, Hitch helps hopeless men hook up with the women of their dreams. Setting up a geeky dude seeking love from a beautiful stranger is more than a job for Hitch, its an adventure.
Kevin James co-stars as bumbling accountant Albert Brennaman. Alberts pretty much useless around women. He either fades into the background, makes a mess of himself, or stutters his way through a simple hello. In other words, hes not a ladies man by any stretch of the imagination. Brennaman calls upon the services of Hitch to help him land a woman who is so far out of his league they're not even playing the same sport. The object of Brennamans affection is the glamorous celebrity, Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta).
Allegra Cole, millionaire, sought after hottie, doesnt know Albert exists. Hitchs job: to take a guy with zero self-esteem and launch him into the limelight as Allegras supportive pal and would-be boyfriend.
While working out the love lives of others, Hitch finds a little romance himself as he becomes attracted to gossip columnist, Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), who detests dating and is married to her job. An expert at choreographing all the right moves, Hitch isnt as lucky in romance as are his clients after utilizing his services. Mucking up date after date, including one where he turns into SpongeBob after an allergic reaction to food, Hitch nonetheless finds himself a victim of the dangerous condition known as falling in love. But Sara, ever on the job, has set her sights on figuring out why Allegra is out on the town with Albert. Sara also wants to remove the mask and expose the date doctor once and for all. However exposing either Albert or the date doctor could spell an end to Hitchs romance plans.
Will Smith plays it just right. The smiles arent forced, the jokes come easy, and the scenes between Smith and James and Smith and Mendes even the ones that feel too set-up work because Smiths so charismatic you cant help but smile and go along with it. Hes got such a presence onscreen that you follow him over the movies rough spots just because hes such an affable leading man.
Kevin James (King of Queens) steals scene after scene. Playing an average, everyday Joe, James makes you really pull for this poor guy as he pursues a woman he shouldn't have a snowballs chance in hell of dating. While James is great opposite his onscreen love interest, its the scenes with Smith where the movie really hits its stride. In fact, James and Smith are actually the onscreen couple to watch. In the films most memorable scene, James shows off his dance moves to a bemused Smith (how he ever kept a straight face is beyond me). Its almost worth the price of admission just to witness James getting his groove on.
The women of Hitch dont fare as well, but theyre really only called upon to look pretty and provide James and Smith with a reason for teaming up. Supermodel/actress Amber Valletta is asked to look like shes hounded by the media and unlucky in love. She gets one out of two right, which isnt bad. Eva Mendes is fine but really doesnt make much of an impression as the hard-nosed gossip columnist.
Andy Tennant can handle romantic comedies and its due to his easy-going, audience-friendly style that Hitch doesnt lose steam after the plots set up. Tennant, Will Smith and Kevin James have managed to deliver a decent comedy out of a one-note idea. Hitch winds up being a fun romp through the dating scene with all its quirks and foibles laid out on display.
Hitch was directed by Andy Tennant and is rated PG-13 for language and some strong sexual references.