Running Time: 115 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a
Country: Czech Republic, United States
The ultimate dating movie, Hitch flirts with the idea of side-stepping standard rom-com predictability, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty is little more than a great big tease. Thankfully though, this shameless feel-gooder has more than enough charm, star quality and good ol fashioned humour to make up for that slightly-irksome refusal to go the whole way.
It stars Will Smith as Alex Hitch Hitchens, a bloke whos made a none-too-shabby career for himself as a self-styled Date Doctor. A sort of Cupid for the mobile phone era, he spends his time dishing out sagely advice to New Yorks unlucky-in-love, and then charging what would appear to be a not-so-small fee for the privilege.
Hitchs latest client is Albert (Kevin King of Queens James), a tubby financial adviser whos become smitten with celebrity socialite Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). Getting this supremely-mismatched pair together looks like it may well be our heros biggest challenge yet until, that is, he gets the hubba-hubbas for sworn singleton Sara (Eva Mendes), and realises that the love life most difficult to fix is his own.
From its bankable cast-list to its unflinchingly safe line of comedy, Hitch isnt the sort of movie that takes any risks. Still, its seldom less than enjoyable (only the last 15 minutes or so drag a little), and theres a lot to like about the various array of lovelorn characters splattered across the screen (theyre a bit like the folks from Love Actually, only theyre much less likely to make you want to vomit). Smith is as cool and collected as ever but, much more importantly than that, he provides a much-needed reminder of just how good he is at comedy. Even better though is James, who outshines Smith in each of their scenes together and generally gets the bigger belly-laughs throughout the two hours. Heres hoping there are more big-screen roles on the horizon for a guy whose work up until now has been largely confined to the gogglebox.
Hitch carries with it a 12A (or, if youre in the US, PG-13) certificate, but Id question the need to keep the kiddies away from it. Certainly, the gaggle of ankle-biters whose parents had snuck them into the row in front of me seemed to be enjoying it just as much as any of the grown-ups perhaps even more so.
It's Got: A very brief glimpse of Jade Goody. Seriously.
It Needs: To resist any temptation to make a sequel. The first date was fun, but lets leave it there.
Alternatives:Breakin' All the Rules
The Fresh Prince meets the King of Queens in this predictable-but-amusing rom-com. If youre after a chuckle at the moment, you could do much worse than to get yourself Hitched.