Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hitch (2005)

Director: Andy Tennant                                     Writer: Kevin Bisch
Film Score: George Fenton                               Cinematography: Andrew Dunn
Starring: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James and Amber Valletta

It’s been a long time since someone turned the romantic comedy on its head like this. Hitch takes all of the standard conventions and turns them inside out in a fantastic way and in turn is one of the most refreshingly original romcoms in recent history. Will Smith’s comedic talents are perfect for the formula, and Eva Mendes in her break out role is stunning. Add to that the expert character of Kevin James and it’s difficult to see how this one could possibly miss.

Will Smith is Alex Hitchens, the incognito “date doctor” who helps men meet the women of their dreams and actually have a chance of getting them to like them in return. At the same time he’s helping Kevin James to find a way to meet Amber Valletta, the Paris Hilton equivalent celebrity in the film, he’s falling in love with Eva Mendes, a gossip columnist at a local New York paper. Instead of the traditional plot line where the two hate each other at the beginning and then come to realize their love, Hitch reverses it. They hit it off right away, but when she learns he what he does for a living, they have a falling out.

The comedy aspects of the film are very well done. Smith is a natural. As the master of dating who has a disastrous couple of dates with Mendes, it’s such a great twist. Then to throw Kevin James into the mix just makes things that much better. A solid supporting cast is on hand as well. Comedy veteran Philip Bosco has a couple of brief scenes as the head of Valletta’s accounting firm, and the great Adam Arkin plays Mendes’ boss at the newspaper. Jeffrey Donovan is excellently cast as the “pig” who hooks up with Mendes’ best friend and promptly dumps her.

Composer George Fenton has had plenty of experience scoring for romantic comedies like White Palace, Groundhog Day and You’ve Got Mail, and does a nice job here of mixing just the right pop tunes--and not too many--with his score to achieve a perfect balance. Andy Tennant hasn’t made many hits, but his direction here is spot on, with great set ups and interesting angles, in addition to the obvious jokes like Donovan’s head in the rear end of the bull on Wall Street. All of it is cemented together perfectly with Kevin Bisch’s intelligent script, a great premise and nicely executed dialogue. Hitch is a wonderfully new twist on the romantic comedy that will be sure to please any fan of the genre.

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