Preview by: Jack Foley
ROMANTIC comedy Hitch is notable for representing Will Smith's
first proper venture into romantic comedy - and early word from
America seems to suggest that he has got the formula right.
The charismatic actor plays Alex 'Hitch' Hitchens, a legendary
- and deliberately anonymous - New York City 'date doctor' who,
for a fee, has helped countless men woo the women of their dreams.
While in the middle of coaching Albert (Kevin James, of TV's
King of Queens), a meek accountant who is smitten with a glamorous
celebrity, Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta), Hitch finally meets
his match in the person of Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), a gossip columnist
who follows Allegra's every move.
However, as Hitch struggles to take his own advice and begins
to fall madly in love with Sara, she is determined to become the
reporter responsible for unmasking Manhattan's most famous date
The film is billed as a sophisticated comedy that gleefully mixes
slapstick humour, with something a little more grown-up for all
Ironically, it was originally touted as a star vehicle for both
Smith and Jennifer Lopez, before Halle Berry also cropped up as
a potential on-screen partner.
There were also reportedly several re-writes, which might suggest
why some of the American critics had a few misgivings.
On the whole, though, the film - which is directed by Andy Tennant
- seems to have delivered the perfect Valentine's treat for US
The word from America was as follows...
The Philadelphia Inquirer led the favourable
reviews by stating: "For women, it purveys the dream that
men really, really care about what they think. For men, it holds
out the fantasy that babes are attracted to geeky men who really,
really care about what they think. What's not to like?"
While the New York Times put the case against,
by describing it as 'an average romantic comedy, starring Will
Smith and Eva Mendes, that is as soft and sweet as a marshmallow,
and about as interesting'.
Caught inbetween was the Washington Post, which
observed that 'you know what's being fed to you and yet you slurp
it down just the same'.
Newsday, meanwhile, opted for a negative outlook,
stating that 'the sour subplot, in which Sara's dark side mistakes
Hitch for a cad, staggers to a gummy resolution, throwing a wet-blanket
reminder that romantic comedy - indeed, romance itself - isn't
what it used to be'.
While the Hollywood Reporter lamented that 'everything
about Hitch seems off'.
As did Entertainment Weekly, which opined that
'it makes nerds and studs alike so noble that it turns the chase
into a neutered game'.
But more positive was USA Today, which felt
that 'director, Andy Tennant, is actor-friendly throughout, giving
his performers (including a sweet turn by Julie Ann Emery as Mendes'
best friend) a chance to breathe in their roles'.
While the Los Angeles Times wrote that 'Smith
is a gifted comic actor, and seeing him in a lighthearted comedy,
his first romantic lead, is a pure pleasure'.
And the Dallas Morning News completes this round-up
by stating: "How reassuring to realize that happy surprises
are still possible. Hitch is one of the happiest."
The film opens in the UK on March 4.