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Zettel Film Reviews » Hitch – Will Smith is like an olive

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Hitch – Will Smith is like an olive

who's pulling whom?

who's pulling whom?

Hitch – Director Andy Tennant

Will Smith is like an olive. They say you have to eat 7 olives in a row to acquire a taste for them. Many will feel their lives will not be irreparably damaged if they don’t acquire a taste for Will. However, considered as an olive, this movie would be a good first choice. It is surprisingly good and consistently funny. It is a heart-in-the-right-place romantic comedy with believe it or not, great charm. Director Andy Tennant pulled off the same feat with the undemanding but largely fun, Sweet Home Alabama. He has a lightness of touch ideal for that delicately balanced, highly vulnerable, often abused, creature that is the romantic comedy.

It is an intriguing question quite how Smith manages to be so engaging in this role when it offers him ample opportunities to reprise his Fresh Prince of Bel Air schtick of smirky, knowing, practised slickness characteristic of long running TV sitcom actors. The clue perhaps is his background as a stand-up. His comic timing here is perfect. He also has the great advantage of a superb, sympathetic performance by Kevin James as Albert: the chunky, shy, invisible, 10th accountant on the rich and beautiful Allegra Cole’s personal tax account. Nice guy Albert, is in suicidally hopeless love with his goddess client, who as it turns out is emotionally isolated by her beauty and wealth. It’s a tough all over. But go with it and it will make you laugh.Despite yourself.

With equal weight, well, almost, Tennant parallels Albert’s often funny but always affectionately observed travails, with the other storyline of ultimate date-doctor Hitch, infinitely ‘wise’ in the ways of women, suffering a straight run of Klutz disasters in his efforts to woo ballsy (well ‘feisty’ has to have a rest sometime) gossip columnist Sara (Eva Mendes). These two cleverly intertwined story lines give the movie a nicely structured frame within which to place a series of well-conceived, well-written and very well played, comic situations.

Feminist movie this ain’t. But the little boy fantasy of uber cool male control of the courting process is perfectly and amusingly demolished. If, male or female, you can buy into the empirically dubious proposition that nice guys can win the girl because they’re the nice guys, you’ll enjoy this one and laugh a lot.

For me, I’m not there yet, but pass me another olive Mr Smith.

(March 2005)

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