Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andy Tennant|
|Written by||Kevin Bisch|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$368.1 million|
Hitch is a 2005 American romantic comedy film directed by Andy Tennant and starring Will Smith, along with Eva Mendes, Kevin James, and Amber Valletta. The film, which was written by Kevin Bisch, features Smith as Alex "Hitch" Hitchens, a professional dating consultant who makes a living teaching men how to woo women. The film was released on February 11, 2005 by Columbia Pictures.
Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Will Smith) is a professional "date doctor" who coaches other men in the art of wooing women, with a focus on genuine long-term relationships. He is very successful at what he does. While coaching one of his clients, Albert Brennaman (Kevin James) – who is smitten with a client of his investment firm, celebrity Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta) – Hitch finds himself falling for Sara Melas (Eva Mendes). Sara is a gossip columnist and cynical workaholic. While Albert and Allegra's relationship continues to progress, Hitch finds it difficult to initiate a dialogue with Sara, finding that none of his romantic methods work on her. Throughout the entire process, he keeps his career secret, claiming to be a generic "consultant".
Hitch meets with Vance Munson (Jeffrey Donovan), a shallow misogynist attempting to enlist Hitch to help him land a one-night stand with Casey Sedgewick (Julie Ann Emery), Sara's coworker and best friend. Although Hitch refuses to help, Vance misleads Sara into believing that he has used Hitch's services. After finding out Hitch's true identity, Sara publishes an exposé, causing Allegra and Albert to break up and Hitch's reputation to suffer. At a speed dating cafe that Hitch sneaks into, Sara and Casey confront Hitch and cite Vance as their source. Hitch explains that not only did he refuse to work with him – men like Vance are the reason why women heavily protect themselves – but that same protection also unintentionally makes establishing genuine relationships with good men difficult enough to create a demand for Hitch's services.
Hitch then tries to salvage Albert and Allegra's relationship. He confronts Allegra, and realizes that he does not really do anything significant besides giving his clients confidence and allowing them to get the attention of the women they love, and that most of his customers, particularly Albert, really were successful by just being themselves. Allegra reconciles with Albert, and Hitch and Sara repair their relationship. The film ends with Albert and Allegra getting married and Hitch helping Casey find a good man, implying that Hitch is now also helping women.
The production budget was $70,000,000. Smith has said that actress Eva Mendes, a Latina, was offered the female lead because the producers were worried about the public's reaction if the part was played by a white actress, creating a studio fear of a potential interracial taboo, or a black actress, creating a studio fear that two black leads would alienate the white audiences. It was believed that a Latina and a black lead would sidestep the issue. Robinne Lee's character (Cressida) was originally offered to Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, who could not take the role to scheduling conflicts. The working title of the film was The Last First Kiss, referring to a line that Hitch delivers to Albert, "This could be her last first kiss." Parts of the movie were filmed in Morningside Heights, Manhattan, at Columbia University, at Ellis Island, in the Fulton Fish Market, at the Wall Street Bull and the North Cove Marina.
The film was released on VHS and DVD by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, and was one of the first films to employ Sony's ARccOS Protection copy protection. The film is also available on UMD (Universal Media Disc) for the Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 68% based on 183 reviews, and an average review of 6.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Despite Hitch's predictability, Will Smith and Kevin James win praise for their solid, warmhearted performances." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "The premise is intriguing, and for a time it seems that the Date Doctor may indeed know things about women that most men in the movies are not allowed to know, but the third act goes on autopilot just when the Doctor should be in." Brian Lowry of Variety wrote: "Considerably heavier on romance than comedy, Hitch stitches together relatively few laughs but generates enough goodwill and energy."
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