Will Smith is great. I love the bloke, can hardly get enough of him. Whether it’s stinkers like Wild, Wild West or Shark Tale, or great films like I, Robot, I love to watch him – he has all the charm and charisma, and most of all presence, of a Hollywood idol, along with a smirk at his own good fortune. I can pretty much watch him in anything.

That being said, his quality radar isn’t always up to scratch, so this can sometimes be a risk. Thankfully, Hitch lives up to its promise, delivering a smile and a laugh, in the form of my beloved romantic comedy.

Hitch is a date movie, released in time for St. Valentine’s day in the US, which probably explains its massive first weekend box office – US$43.1 million – the biggest romantic comedy opening ever! Coming a little late for all that false hoopla in Australia, I was still excited – dateless I was still in the mood for a good romcom.

HitchTelling the story of the ever-so-confident man who knows everything about dealing with women, but seems to struggle to do so himself, Hitch treads a familiar path. Boy meets girl, tries hard, messes it up, redeems himself and wins the girl. Sure, it’s trite, but I love this stuff. This could have been a tired attempt though, were it not for the perfect casting of Eva Mendes as the romantic interest. She is a revelation, bringing wit, charm and, most of all, feisty independence to her role. The chemistry between her and Smith is great, but she really carries this film on her shoulders. Smith can elevate the worst film to passable, but Mendes makes this good.

Sure, it’s predictable. It’s romantic, and funny, but you can always see the pitfalls before the characters. If you’re a Shyamalan fan, wanting to be surprised, don’t see Hitch. But it is more the fun of the journey, and the inevitable occurring, that keeps you interested.

The audience found Kevin James hilarious, although I am always a little concerned when a film makes the comic relief a heavier man – it seems to be a cheap shot. James, however, is well known to me as a comedian, and star of ‘King of Queens’, so this feeling was somewhat diminshed. He does make you laugh, with his hopeless attempts at winning the girl of his dreams – especially his intent to dance his own way.

This isn’t Shakespeare, but not much coming out of Hollywood these days is, and if you’re looking for a laugh and a smile, and a nice warm fuzzy feeling, this could be for you.

Rating: 3.0 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 1st January 1970
Hoopla Factor: 3.5 stars

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