Directed by: Andy Tennant
Written by:Kevin Bisch
Starring: Will Smith, Eva Mendez, Kevin James, Amber Valletta, Adam Arkin
Released: March 3, 2005
Grade: B

Few know who Alex ‘Hitch’ Hitchens (Smith) by name but most know him by reputation – he is the “Date Doctor”.  If you’re a guy looking for help in wooing a girl, Hitch is the man to see.  He helps you through the basic fundamentals and will have you fully prepared for that valuable first impression.

His latest assignment is one of his toughest – an accountant named Albert (James) has fallen head-over-heels for a client at work.  Not just any client though – this is a rich heiress who is continually splashed across trashy newspaper and magazine covers.  Her name is Allegra Cole (Valletta) and after consulting Hitch, Albert is ready to make the first move…

As Albert’s quest commences, so too does an opportunity open up for Hitch.  He’s attracted to an alluring journalist named Sara (Mendez) but he just can’t get it right.  The man who apparently knows all the answers, can’t seem to find them for himself.

What follows is an amusing comedy with a few twists along the way.  I particularly enjoyed the way several of the side-plots were woven into the story (particularly that of a scum-bag which Hitch refuses to take as a client).  Sure it’s obvious but hey, aren’t all romantic comedies?\

I’m not usually a Will Smith fan but he’s funny enough in this role for me to forgive past misgivings.  He’s still his usual self but at least the writing is better.  He works well with co-star Eva Mendez who seems to be the “in thing” in Hollywood.  In the past two years, she’s featured in many major films including Out Of Time, Stuck On You, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Training Day and 2 Fast 2 Furious.

My major gripe with Hitch was watching the characters change personality too quickly.  Albert is terribly nervous one minute and amazingly confident the next.  I can’t say I really bought it.  The same applied to Hitch – I couldn’t believe that a man who is an expert in the field of dating could make so many mistakes himself.  On top of this, many of the films events feel predetermined and you know exactly what’s going to happen before it does.  I’ll use Albert’s first encounter with Allegra in the boardroom as a perfect example.  Even if you haven’t seen the trailer (which reveals too much of the story) you’ll know.

The box-office success of this film shows that many have suffered in making that first move and can relate to funny situations that Hitch and Albert find themselves in.  That said, I’m not sure if the deep, metaphorical pick-up lines Will Smith uses would hold up here in Australia.  Guys can try them if they like but be prepared to be laughed at.