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Hitch (2005)

Directed by:

Andy Tennant

Jan Hrebejk

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 115 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

Country: United States, Czech Republic

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 who’s 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 York’s unlucky-in-love, and then charging what would appear to be a not-so-small fee for the privilege.

Hitch’s latest client is Albert (Kevin ‘King of Queens’ James), a tubby financial adviser who’s become smitten with celebrity socialite Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). Getting this supremely-mismatched pair together looks like it may well be our hero’s 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’ isn’t the sort of movie that takes any risks. Still, it’s seldom less than enjoyable (only the last 15 minutes or so drag a little), and there’s a lot to like about the various array of lovelorn characters splattered across the screen (they’re a bit like the folks from Love Actually, only they’re 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. Here’s 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 you’re in the US, PG-13) certificate, but I’d 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 let’s leave it there.

Alternatives:

Breakin' All the Rules

Summary

The Fresh Prince meets the King of Queens in this predictable-but-amusing rom-com. If you’re after a chuckle at the moment, you could do much worse than to get yourself Hitched.

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