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I have to say that I resisted going to see Hitch. The trailer was pretty cute but I was worried that all the good scenes were in the trailer. And I tend to avoid Hollywood comedies. But, Hitch has been out for a month and it's grossed $162 million so far at the box office. Basically, it's the feel good movie of 2005. And besides, there wasn't anything else I really wanted to see. So I saw it. And it was good. In fact, it was more than good. I laughed out loud. Hitch is a very funny movie. It tells the story of a date doctor (Will Smith) who is hired by Schleps to help them with their dating skills. In particular, the story follows Smith's character as he tries to help a rather large unattractive accountant (Kevin James) who is pining after a Paris-Hilton-esque woman (Amber Valletta). Hitch is very good at what he does but he is very secretive. However, a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes) for a New York tabloid is on his trail. And this being a Hollywood movie, Smith and Mendes meet and start dating without knowing who each other really is. Needless to say, this leads to lots of misunderstandings and much hilarity.
Hitch is a big budget Hollywood version of a great small Indie movie called The Tao of Steve. Hitch isn't exactly a remake but both movies are about guys who know exactly how to attract women but who have never been in love themselves. The Tao of Steve involves three rules, listening to a woman without trying to get her into bed, showing her how great you are, and then waiting for her to come after you. Hitch basically follows the same playbook. And, in fact, it's good advice when not used coldly and cynically. It is all quite effortless for Will Smith in Hitch and Donal Logue in The Tao of Steve until each of them actually meets someone and falls in love. The Tao of Steve is one of my favorite movies. You should rent it if you haven't seen it. But Hitch isn't half bad either. The screenplay by newcomer, Kevin Bisch, is laugh-out-loud funny, helped along by Will Smith who seemingly can make almost any line funny. Eva Mendes, who I'd only seen previously in small parts in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and Training Day, is not a comic genius like Smith but she hangs in there and does a good job. And Kevin James, primarily known as The King of Queens, has a perfect role in Hitch, and he literally throws himself into it.
The plot of Hitch is pretty formulaic and there really aren't any surprises. But who cares. This is a very enjoyable movie. The first half of the movie is non-stop fun. It slows a bit in the second half as it tries to deal with Smith's and Mendes' halting romance. But I haven't laughed so much in a movie in a long time. Now I know why Hitch has made $162 million. It's actually good! And let me tell you, as outlandish and as wacky as dating is portrayed in this movie, it all seems pretty realistic to me. The advice of Hitch and The Tao of Steve is good but when it comes right down to it, dating is like jumping off a cliff. Near the end of the movie, Smith asks James where he is going, as James rushes off to reclaim the love of his life. He replies, "Skydiving."