Saturday, 03 September, 2005

Movie review: Hitch

In the movie Hitch, Will Smith plays Alex 'Hitch' Hitchens, the "Date Doctor."  Hitch's job is to coach men on how to get noticed by and successfully date women.  Although the basic flow of the movie is straight out of the romantic comedy playbook, the content was original, funny, and very cleverly put together.  And to think they did it without resorting to fart jokes, nudity, excessive profanity, or sexual innuendo.  There are some references to sex, but it's not at all overpowering.

The movie opens with a monologue by Hitch, explaining "basic principles," while he coaches various men in courting the women of their dreams.  Scenes of Hitch with his clients are mixed with scenes of the clients with the women:  getting noticed, the first date, the first kiss, etc.  Then it jumps quickly into the primary story, which has two parts that become entertwined:  Hitch helping his client Albert (an overweight, insecure bumbler) attract a beautiful and rich heiress, and Hitch meeting and falling for a gossip columnist who, as one might expect, often writes about the heiress.

As I said, the movie follows the basic romantic comedy plot:  they meet, start to become attached, have an argument that surely will destroy the relationship, and then everything comes out okay in the end.  Unlike most romantic comedies, though, Hitch maintains an upbeat tone even when things get bad.  It also maintains the comedy throughout the film, with very few belly laughs but an almost continual stream of mild chuckles that anybody who has been involved in dating as an adult can appreciate.

I half expected the movie to devolve into a battle of the sexes with man bashing and woman hating jokes throughout.  That didn't happen.  There is one stereotypical woman hating playboy and a few somewhat cynical jokes thrown in, but mostly it was a light hearted and fun movie.  Pop it into the DVD player, sit on the couch with your spouse, and enjoy it along with some popcorn.  It really is entertaining.