I’m not usually the type of guy that waits in line for a “romantic comedy” in the hopes it will alleviate all of the darkness in anyone’s life. These movies are cookie-cutter at best, each boasting similar storylines and auxiliary characters to boot. If anything the romantic comedy can be used to gauge a certain stars mass appeal by how much money they are able to drive in. You see, when everything is pretty much the same, only the star-power can drive in the dollar signs.

Hitch succeeds on almost every level in giving the audience something new to enjoy. This film is made by the characters, which is very important since the story is the cliché plot line we have come to expect over the years. Guy meets girl, guy goes out with girl, girl discovers something about guy and blows it out of proportion, guy and girl reconcile, serious banging occurs (or we are left to presume). In Hitch, the two about to bang are Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) and Sara (Eva Mendes) who are the two unlikely folks that wind up together.

Alex is a date doctor, and as we learn in the film’s opening montage and voice over, he gives guys the confidence, and the means to get any girl they want. We know from the start this is a work of fiction, because nothing in life ever works out this well, except in New York, where, apparently, everything under the sun can happen, and you won’t get mugged. Hitch’s latest client is Albert (Kevin James) who is the standard, geeky guy that almost everyone seeing this movie alone can relate to, expect that kid already waiting for Episode III. Albert has his sights set on Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta) after her cheating boyfriend is exposed by a local tabloid. In circumstances that become apparent during the “girl discovers something about guy” stage, Sara realizes that Hitch is the mythical “date doctor” and may have given a guy bad advice, which lead to her friend being hurt. Reconciliation occurs, and we are left to wonder about that serious banging.

The film is strong through the first two acts. Will Smith is his usual charismatic self and it’s nice to see Eva Mendes get out of supporting roles in films like 2 Fast 2 Furious and Stuck on You. She holds up the film well in the lead role and can do comedy. The problems begin in the overtly long third act where the jokes stop (in standard comedy form) and a preachy series of dialog almost begins to grate on you in its sugary, sappy taste. Anything you can think of saying on Valentine’s Day is in the latter half of this movie, and for the better part of it I was just wishing someone would stop, or shoot some one else. Luckily it finally ends with a humorous dancing skit, but you can feel every second of the last 20 minutes.

Easily stealing the movie from everyone is Kevin James as the bumbling Albert. For the unenlightened, The King of Queens, James’ day job on CBS, is one of the funniest comedies on TV, and with Everybody Loves Raymond going off the air this year, only Queens, Two and a Half Men, and Arrested Development remain as the two funny live-action sitcoms on the air. But I digress. James creates the perfect character for every bumbling guy to relate to, and getting the girl manages to give us hope, if only till the credits role.

Not being a huge fan of the genre I can honestly say that Hitch is the best romantic comedy of the year (mainly because I don’t plan on seeing too many of them), still, there are some problems here and there which make it a great movie. While Will Smith plays Will Smith (which is fine) we do get to see some of the talents of James and Mendes who both excel at comedy and provide a more human face to the façade of Hollywood and what appearances should be. If you’re “hitched” up with someone, this is the perfect film to go and see, and even if you’re lacking that extra baggage, give Hitch a chance, and maybe she’ll give you one, if you know what I mean.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!