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Overall Rating
3.26

Awesome: 17.98%
Worth A Look: 17.98%
Average43.82%
Pretty Bad: 12.36%
Total Crap: 7.87%

7 reviews, 47 user ratings


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Hitch
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Actually, Will Smith as the Master of Suspense might have been better"
2 stars

I am all for alternative casting suggestions for movies but who would have ever conceived of the idea of starring Will Smith in “Hitch,” the new biopic of the life and times of legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock? And yet, there he is, trading quips with Cary Grant (Martin Lawrence) and winning the heart of Tippi Hedren (Vivica A. Fox) while creating some of the cinema’s greatest works. Needless to say, there are a few points where I think things have been changed slightly to fit in with Smith’s familiar screen persona. There is the moment where we see him reading the screenplay for “Psycho” and letting out his trademark “Aw, hell no ” when he gets to the last ten pages. And while it is well-known that Hitchcock feuded with his longtime musical composer Bernard Herrmann (depicted here as the head of Kenneth Branagh resting atop a giant mechanical spider) during the scoring of “Torn Curtain,” I am fairly certain that their arguments did not culminate with a car chase, a shoot-out and Hitch plunging a baton in Herrmann’s throat while say, “Yo, conduct this ”.

But I kid “Hitch,” of course, though I dare say that if they had actually used the above suggestions, the film might have turned out to be slightly more interesting than the tired rehash that it actually is. This is the kind of empty-headed piffle that could have been made as a B-level programmer about 60 years ago. Of course, back then the people making it would have realized that it was empty-headed piffle and had some fun with it by transforming it into a brisk, efficient entertainment. This version, on the other hand, takes an incredibly slight comedic premise and proceeds to drag it out for over two hours, a length that becomes even more painful when you realize that every key joke has already been seen in the incessant trailers and TV commercials.

Smith stars as Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, a self-professed “date doctor” who makes a lucrative living by giving romantic tips to lovelorn schnooks hoping to catch the eye of the fabulous babe of their dreams. While most of his advice seems to be taken from the advice columns of “Maxim,” he apparently has found enough people willing to pay for such tidbits as “maintain eye contact” to afford an apartment that would give any investment banker a case of jealousy. His latest client is Albert (Kevin James), a dorky accountant desperately in love with Allegra, a client who just happens to be a fabulously rich, gorgeous and famous supermodel type (played, in a stroke of casting genius, by the rich, gorgeous and famous supermodel Amber Valetta.) Because Albert is white and chunky, it goes without saying that he is helpless at everything and so Albert has to give him additional lessons on how to look cool and how to dance without looking like an idiot (because he’s white, of course). I don’t want to sound harsh, but having seen my fair share of Will Smith videos, the notion of him criticizing someone else’s dancing skills is a case of the pot calling the kettle white.

Albert’s success with the babe of his dreams catches the eye of Sara, a cynical and embittered journalist portrayed by Eva Mendes. Before we go any further, I just want to say that on behalf of cynical and embittered journalists everywhere, there has never been one that has even vaguely resembled Eva Mendes. There hasn’t even been one that has resembled Sergio Mendes. The reality of what we generally look like can be summed up by the fact that before the screening, someone came up to me and asked me if anyone had ever told me that I looked a lot like Michael Moore. Then again, it isn’t just her looks that make her completely unbelievable in the part. Mendes has the kind of sunny and radiant personality that just throws off happiness and good cheer whenever she is on the screen, attributes that are usually not found in most cynical and embittered journalists, who generally spend most of their time grumbling and whining about insanely petty things (such as how most embittered journalists bear no resemblance to Eva Mendes). When she sits around and talks about how true love and happiness simply don’t exist, it just doesn’t work because she serves as a living rebuke to every word that she says just by standing there.

Anyway, Sara is a crack gossip columnist determined to discover the secret behind the schlub dating Allegra. At the same time, she learns that a friend of hers has been cruelly mistreated by someone who claims to have been a client of the Date Doctor (although if she listened to what her friend actually said that he said, she clearly would have thought otherwise) and she is determined to expose his teaching and destroy him because . . .well, because if she doesn’t, there is no movie. And wouldn’t you know it, she has already unsuspectingly met her quarry (in a Meet Cute portrayed entirely in the third person, in one of those scenes that is meant to sound clever but just winds up sounding too cleverly written to be true) and the two begin a tentative relationship marked by a series of disastrous dates, which include such unpleasantries as allergic reactions to fish, ripped clothes and a boot to the head. Before long, everyone’s secret are revealed and it looks as though no one will have a happy ending after all, just before everything works out just fine for everyone.

“Hitch” isn’t as bad as it is just completely lifeless. Inexplicably stretched out to 119 minutes, director Andy Tennant drags things along without any sense of the kind of rapid-fire pacing required for a film of this type. For all the talk about winning people over by letting them see the real you instead of a slick facade, this is just another film in which all the pretty people (save for the token slob James) wind up with people just as pretty as themselves. Think of how much more interesting and subversive it might have been if it had been Kevin James playing Hitch, a suave personality trapped in the body of Homer Simpson who teaches the surface-pretty Smith how to let his inner charm shine. Granted, it probably wouldn’t have been that much better, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.

Of course, if they did that, it would also mean that Will Smith wouldn’t have as much of an opportunity to grandstand by delving into his increasingly tiresome bag of supposedly charming tricks. Once again, he breaks the fourth wall to talk to the audience to remind us how hip and cool he is. Once again, he gets to act like a nerd in one scene in order to remind us just how hip and cool is really is. Once again, there is a throughly unnecessary joke that seems to have be included for no other reason than to remind us that Will Smith is the manliest man in the world and that while gay people are okay, he should never be confused for one. And yes, there is even a moment where Smith gets to utter “Aw, hell no ”, the most ubiquitous actor catchphrase since Keanu Reeves uttered his first “Whoa ”.

While “Hitch” contains the germ of a good idea, I suppose, it lacks the necessary burst of creativity that would transform it from the formulaic to the truly memorable. That said, it will no doubt make a killing at the box-office over Valentine’s Day from couples too old for the Winnie-the-Pooh film and too shy for “Inside ‘Deep Throat’.” If your significant other wants to see it, you may as well go–call it one of the sacrifices one makes in the name of true love. However, I would also suggest getting him or her a copy of the new DVD of the classic “The Palm Beach Story” so that they can see what a truly inspired romantic comedy looks like. If they should happen to prefer the likes of “Hitch,” however, you should probably cut your losses and get out of the relationship as soon as possible. Don’t worry, no one will blame you.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11675&reviewer=389
originally posted: 02/11/05 15:32:10
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User Comments

10/21/15 pfovhcu USA 2 stars
8/04/14 Jamie Love this movie, fun and feel good, but what's with this review? 5 stars
2/26/14 Monday Morning Pretty good, but maybe 20 minutes too long. 3 stars
3/19/10 PAUL SHORTT LONG-WINDED, FAR FETCHED AND UNAMUSING DESPITE ITS WARM HEARTED PERFORMANCES 2 stars
10/23/09 Rachel Laughed until I cried with this movie. Definitely worth a look. 4 stars
5/07/09 true Love Smith, hate when a director ruins a movie trying to make it "different" 1 stars
12/01/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 3 stars
4/07/08 pineapple Didn't like it so much. I don't see why everyone has such high ratings. 1 stars
9/14/07 Tracy very funny movie, loved Will in this. 5 stars
12/15/06 Stanley Thai A good, funny comedy. It's a bit too long, I think... 3 stars
4/03/06 robbo once it settled down brilliant 5 stars
2/27/06 Steven Lewis An O.k. romantic comedy from action star will smith 3 stars
2/07/06 Anthony It was funny and good 4 stars
1/16/06 Frank Rountree Not bad, good story, and a good job by all the actors and actresses 3 stars
1/05/06 Barry Too bad the heroine is such an unethical bitch. 2 stars
1/02/06 Ry Also better than I though, good movie 5 stars
10/17/05 Josh Hitch rocked my socks off! 5 stars
9/22/05 Indrid Cold All I know is that I lauged a lot more than at "The 40 Year Old Virgin." 4 stars
9/13/05 bbbr funny and worth watching 5 stars
8/26/05 Brian Wilshire Funny, insightful script helps likeable stars present a film to recommend to everybody. 5 stars
8/13/05 ES Better than I thought it'd be= good for a date 4 stars
7/29/05 Nobody I thought it would be just another chick flick, but it's actually pretty funny 4 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Apathy thy name is Hitch. 2 stars
7/14/05 Matthew Rudawsky Cute, but veeery predictable. A few nice ideas and mostly good acting. Worth a look... once 4 stars
7/04/05 Steven shit,fell asleep till the last 5 mniutes 1 stars
6/19/05 Brian It was pretty stupid, but Kevin James was funny as hell. 2 stars
6/17/05 ELI It was cute, just the ending wedding was REALLY retarded.... 4 stars
3/24/05 Kathy terPlugg Ridiculous stock characters, cliched situations. Groan!!!!! 1 stars
3/21/05 R.C.F. Kevin James saved most comedy-factor that's missing here overall, too slow towards the end 4 stars
3/14/05 Rebecca Great movie, had me in hysterics 5 stars
3/06/05 I.P.Freely Great!!! 5 stars
3/05/05 Leesha Lots of laughs amid the sappy (yet enjoyable) love stories. 4 stars
3/03/05 jeff funny but not that funny. kinda slow. 3 stars
3/03/05 HORAN THE MAN!!!!! EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! 5 stars
2/28/05 Jim Amiable fluff 3 stars
2/27/05 Gray wow a black guy teachs a white guy how to be cool how original 1 stars
2/25/05 L.G. Best Romantic Comedy Ever, it's a Pick Me Up, Loved it, Great Cast and Script 5 stars
2/24/05 Mary JD Great movie... had me laughing most of the time! would recommend 5 stars
2/20/05 Jennifer Tower LOVED IT!! So cute! 5 stars
2/20/05 Steve Michaud Engaging, entertaining, and funny; for once, a romantic comedy done right 4 stars
2/19/05 Denise Duspiva funny 3 stars
2/18/05 Eileen Lammers I laughed all the way through this one! It is a joy! 5 stars
2/18/05 Fahad Pinto It was ok, not the best, but not bad either. 3 stars
2/15/05 Obi Wan Great Job by Will Smith! Very funny and definately a great date movie! 5 stars
2/14/05 Will Smith Aw, hell no! 1 stars
2/14/05 Kristina Williams when will people see that he acts the same in EVERY movie? Dammit. 1 stars
2/12/05 Kenneth Flickstein Will Smith shows off well in this chick flick for guys. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Feb-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Jun-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  03-Mar-2005


Directed by
  Andy Tennant

Written by
  Kevin Bisch

Cast
  Will Smith
  Eva Mendes
  Kevin James
  Michael Rapaport
  Adam Arkin
  Amber Valletta



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