Directed by Andy Tennant, starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valleta, Julie Anne Emery, Robinne Lee, Michael Rapaport and Jeffrey Donovan.
Romantic comedy. When many moviegoers hear this phrase they shriek in terror, nausea takes over and they start gagging. Well, almost. For a genre that once sparkled with originality, wit and charm - 'Annie Hall', 'Tootsie', 'Moonstruck' – the fall has been sharp and ignominious. Now it's just a procession of turkeys, and to single out any for special vitriol would be unfair. But who cares. 'Gigli', 'Maid in Manhattan', 'Mr Deeds'? Indeed, pretty much anything starring Jennifer Lopez and Meg Ryan.
So now it's at a stage where any new 'rom com' that displays even the faintest sense of charisma can be judged favourably. Such is the case with 'Hitch'. It's far from original (matchmaking?), there should be more laughs, and it's very, very predictable. But charm can carry a film a long way, and in Will Smith, 'Hitch' has it.
Smith plays Alex 'Hitch' Hitchens, a 'consultant' who schools socially awkward men in the art of seduction. These guys are geeks, but with Hitch's prompting, they manage to punch well above their weight in the romantic stakes. But Hitch doesn't really believe the ethos that he promotes, and behind the bling and the bull lies a lonely soul. Then he meets fellow love cynic Sara (Mendes). Join the dots.
'Hitch' lets on to be deeper than it actually is, and the comedy here is often of the obvious and broad slapstick variety. And while you might like this for a decent chunk of its 115 minutes, you'll have forgotten about it a couple of days later. But so what? Yes it's very glossy, but it's still relatively sophisticated, and shows, if nothing else, that Smith has a future in this type of role after too many trashy action flicks.
The worst that can be said about this is that it's an extended fashion show. But in a prolific genre that has inflicted one atrocity after another on filmgoers, 'Hitch' is far less heinous than a lot of what has come before it.