Traditional comedy ‘hitches’ its audience with jazzy story

Raising over $43 million in its first week of release, “Hitch” is currently a box office success. Possibly even more notable, however, is the fact that it is receiving extremely positive reviews from moviegoers who whole-heartedly recommended it to friends and family.

Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith) is a “date doctor.” He helps men who lack confidence get the attention of women who would otherwise be considered out of their reach. We follow as he attempts to help Albert (Kevin James), an awkward, clumsy financial advisor looking to woo the high-profile Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). Meanwhile, Hitch himself becomes hooked on a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes) so cynical that even the date doctor struggles to impress her.

The film incorporates many of the same plot twists and gimmicks that we have grown accustomed to seeing in romantic comedies. So what, then, is so good about this fairly traditional romantic comedy?

For starters, while the plot conventions are recognizable, the film always seems new. This is largely due to the cast’s performances. Most people have come to expect that a film starring Will Smith will at the very least be entertaining and he doesn’t let anybody down with his performance in “Hitch.” He is funny, sincere and attractive, the perfect mix for a romantic comedy lead.

Possibly even more impressive is Kevin James, best known for his television acting on “The King of Queens,” who is funny and fresh. James and Smith play perfectly off of each other and the scenes involving the comedic duo are often quite hilarious.

Eva Mendes (“Stuck on You,” “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “2 Fast 2 Furious”) plays a wonderful gossip columnist, always doubting the intentions of men. While she and Smith seem to lack the on-screen spark that drives many romantic comedies, they work well together in other more humorous and quirky ways. Both actors have a likable edge and it is great to see them come together on the screen.

Directed by Andy Tennant (who also brought us “Sweet Home Alabama” in 2002), “Hitch” is impressive in its comedic approach. It uses traditional slap-stick humor, yet it does not go too far over the top. Much of the humor is simply very funny and not overdone.

“Hitch” takes a traditional story and successfully jazzes it up a bit. It is a film that will likely appeal to all audiences. Both men and women cheered and shouted when I saw it in the theater and I can only assume that this meant they were enjoying the film, or, at the very least, engaged enough to care about what happened to the characters. And, although I didn’t cheer or shout, I was certainly one of the people engaged enough to care.

“Hitch” is an enjoyable and entertaining movie. As my roommate explained while we were leaving the theater, when you watch the film, you think, “Ooh, yeah, love.” Then, when the movie is over, you leave thinking, “Oh, back to reality.” Nonetheless, “Hitch” is fun to enjoy for a couple of hours and I suspect that, even after the movie is over, you will think back on it at least once and smile.