"Any man can sweep any woman off her feet, you just need the right broom." So claims the star of Hitch, a new romantic comedy starring Will Smith. "I wanted to play the man who says that line," says Smith. In this film, Will Smith is Alex Hitchens a.k.a 'Hitch', the ultimate matchmaker, helping struggling men woo the women of their dreams. The man in latest need of his expertise is Albert (Kevin James), a bumbling, albeit well-intentioned man who is hopelessly inept at getting women, especially the woman of his dreams, Allegra (Amber Valletta). While Hitch is a pro at finding the right formula for matching his clients with their romantic pursuits, he isn't very successful in his own case. When Hitch meets his romantic match, a beautiful journalist named Sara (Eva Mendes), he meets the one woman his techniques don't impress.
Will Smith's role is quite a departure from his most recent "action hero" roles; this role is reminiscent of the sweet, funny character he played in his television show years ago ("The Fresh Prince of Bel Air"), just not as silly and a lot more mature. As usual, he delivers his witty lines and occasional slapstick humor impeccably, as does Kevin James. James is downright funny with his clumsy antics and goofy attempts at winning his crush's attention, techniques which of course, he perfected long ago on the "King of Queens" television series in whic he starred.
The film has a few gems: Smith and James play well off of each other using excellent comedic timing and hilarious facial expressions. Smith and Mendes have a nice chemistry and Michael Rapapport makes a surprising appearance.
Although the movie is genuinely funny and certainly has its clever moments, the plot seems just a bit too familiar. We've seen it before: the handsome, suave lead character helps the not-so-handsome, dorky friend but is unable to help himself in his own struggle with love. Despite the reused plot, director Andy Tennant manages to pull it off, perhaps because he has excellent experience with shooting romantic movies. He directed several popular love stories, including "Fools Rush In," "Sweet Home Alabama," and "Ever After," for which he also wrote the screenplay.
Overall, Hitch is definitely a great date flick: funny, fast, with just enough syrupy sweetness to make you smile. Ignore the predictability of the plot and just enjoy good actors in familiar roles. As Will Smith says about the film, "The cliche` fits, you'll say, I laughed, I cried - it was wonderful."
Extra Extra! Tidbits About the Movie...
*In Reality - Will Smith is happily married to actress Jada Pinkett Smith. The couple have three children - two together and one from a first marriage of Will's.
*Best Line - "You know Michaelangelo? You know the Sistine Chapel? I'm Michaelangelo - (you're the) Sistine Chapel." Hitch speaking to Albert about his matchmaking abilities.
*Songworthy - Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing - John Legend