‘Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away...’
It’s been a while since I’ve watched an old school romantic comedy. The genre has been redefined recently with films such as The Big Sick, The King of Staten Island and Palm Springs. This flurry of creativity in what was a moribund genre has cast many of the older romcoms in a much more negative light. Hitch is a film that probably felt dated upon release in 2005, but now it feels positively prehistoric…
Hitch (Will Smith) is a smooth operator and gun for hire who makes a living helping men hook up with women. What we have here is two movies. One of them is a straight forward romcom in which Hitch must change his ways in order to win over Sara (Eva Mendes). The other film is a slapstick comedy in which Hitch helps a clumsy accountant (Kevin James) find love with high powered business woman Allegra (Amber Valletta).
One of the many problems with this movie is that all the characters are loathsome. Smith is supposed to be smug and overly confident, but he takes it too far here. James is ok when he is being a sweet guy, but his frequent violent outbursts don’t match with the overall tone of the movie. Elsewhere, Mendes does her absolute best to make her character likeable, but it’s an impossible task. Indeed, the whole premise is pretty gross and the character growth that takes place by the end of the third act is not enough to justify everything that has come before. It’s also worth mentioning that the script made me wince throughout. Smith’s character might as well have just repeated the phrase ‘live, laugh, love’ over and over such is the inanity of the words that he does utter.
Hitch hits every single romcom cliche over its nearly two hour running time. When a heartbroken Sara sprays squirty cream in her mouth whilst watching Jerry Maguire Mendes looks suitably embarrassed, and so she should. This is a film that follows the three act structure of setup, conflict, resolution so religiously that it almost strays into parody. The performances elevate the material, but this is a film that should be consigned to history.