Thursday, 19 February 2015

TBT - Hitch (2005)

During the end of last year I was thinking about how I approach this little sideline of mine and decided it was high-time that I started being a bit more reliable. Now that I've got a slick new look (thanks to http://www.designerblogs.com) I think I need to start sticking to a posting schedule... well as best I can. I have every intention of getting ahead of myself, planning posts and following a rigid structure but, to quote the great Dr Ian Malcolm, “life finds a way”. Never mind though, for now my intentions are good. As part of my new plan, and suffering from a lack of original ideas, I'm stealing an idea from social media – Throwback Thursday. It's a fucking simple concept: I review an old film for your pleasure. It'll be great... or something I abandon quite eagerly after two attempts.

Indulge me readers, think back to Valentine's Day 2005. What were you doing? If you're anything like me, you won't have a fucking clue. However, there is every chance that you were celebrating the day of love by watching a romantic-comedy starring the picture perfect coupling of Will Smith and Eva Mendes. Yes, just over 10 years ago the film Hitch first hit cinema screens. A film that was apparently so fucking good it's been remade with Kevin Hart and retitled The Wedding Ringer.

Well it does possess one of the most run-of-the-mill narratives that you've ever seen. The insanely charming Eva Mendes plays journalist Sara Melas who is stubbornly single and cynical. Avoiding romance at all cost, Sara offers advice to her heartbroken friends and throws herself into her work. Wow, why has nobody ever thought to create this kind of character before?! Then we have the man she is destined to meet, Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) or 'Hitch' to his friends. The wonderful man that he is, Hitch teaches hopeless men how to pick up attractive women. It's a pre-Tinder world and awkward geeks needed their guardian angel Will Smith to help them. He tells them how to dress well and act like the perfect man. If ever there was a film that summed up that time when everyone fucking loved Queer Eye, but with a heterosexual twist, then its Hitch.

Hitch tries its best to stay away from the inherent fucking sleaze that's associated with a man claiming to be a dating guru and helping men schmooze their way into the romantic lives of women who could do better. Hitch's own promiscuity is glossed over as much as possible and he quickly begins his careful pursuit of Sara, in which the tables are turned and he becomes the kind of awkward man he's been receiving payment from. Ah bless him. Of course, there is more to Hitch than the great man himself. We find ourselves with a subplot adding necessary comedy, drama and endless misunderstandings. It also gave birth to a fucking hilarious (wait... I need my sarcasm flag) display of Will Smith and chubby, funny man Kevin James getting their respective grooves on. Nothing funnier than two heterosexual males dancing together and that, my friends, is fucking scientific fact.

Anyway, this parallel plot concerns Hitch's current client Albert, the fat accountant, who hopes to pursue the much more attractive, sophisticated and wealthy Allegra Cole. Back in 2005, if you needed a humorously awkward, slightly chubby actor then Kevin James was your only man. Thankfully though, James is charming and silly enough to take away some of the fucking self-importance from Will Smith's brooding bachelor. He adds some much needed heart and a human side to a film that constantly sits on the edge of horribly offensive to every possible social group.

Partly because this romantic-comedy is neither very clever nor very funny. It's just a very traditional rom-com where you know exactly how everything will turn out in the end. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter how the narrative is going to get there. Of course, despite all of this Hitch is nothing more or less than a run-of-the-mill romance that is neither truly offensive nor highly memorable. Even Will Smith manages to be less annoying that he has proved to be lately. It's a fine watch that won't stay with you very long after watching but that you could sit through happily enough. With a professional production and a cast of mostly charming actors, Hitch probably wasn't the worst way to spend your Valentine's Day back in 2005 but it definitely wasn't the best. 

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