Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hitch

Will Smith is Alex Hitchens. He is Hitch, the "Date doctor", to his clients of homely gentlemen looking for that recipe to snatch the women of their dreams into their tender arms in a conquering embrace of true love.

Hitch has had no problem with his thriving trade until he meets Sarah Melas (portrayed by the charming and beautiful Eva Mendez), a gossip columnist whose relationship with men is guardedly limited to the initial pleasantries. Hitch, who coaches the portly accountant Albert (Kevin James) who pines for New York's ultra-socialite Allegra Cole (Amber Valleta), finds himself in the same boat as that of his clients - he can't seem to find the right footing whenever he is around Sarah.

Eventually, Sarah and Hitch will find themselves falling in love until a shocking revelation hits Sarah and put the budding romance into trouble-alley.

Andy Tennant's light, feel-good movie attempts to break the "chick-flick" drawback of every romantic comedy by focusing on the affairs of the dominant male lead. In some aspect (especially the early part where the central character is slowly being introduced and built-up) it succeeds. The casting of Smith is particularly praiseworthy as he was able to channel a completely different persona from that of an action hero the audience has grown accustomed to.

However successful this spin is, the final product still leaves a big gaping hole that not a simple patch of tested romantic formula can completely coat. The imagined crisis as the movie was about to end comes off too contrived and lacks credibility. I wonder why the characters of Sarah and Hitch took forever to define only to take a bewildering turnaround at the end. Or could it all be explained by the oft-blamed four-letter word LOVE? I don't know because I thought this movie had it but then it lost it in the end.



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