‘Hitch’ makes a good Valentine’s date flick | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Hitch’ makes a good Valentine’s date flick

Howie Nave
In this photo provided by Columbia Pictures, professional matchmaker Alex "Hitch" Hitchens ( Will Smith) tries to help Albert (Kevin James) win the heart of a woman he adores from afar in "Hitch." (AP photo/Columbia Pictures/Barry Wetcher)

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away (guys, you know what you have to do) it’s time to roll out the requisite date flick to follow the scrumptious dinner that shows your romantic and sensitive side to your mate – or that special friend, if no sex is involved.

What better movie then “Hitch” to cap off a fine evening for this day of stress that comes but once day a year?

Showing his sensitive side and not battling something sci-fi related this time, Will Smith plays Alexander “Hitch” Hitchins, a date consultant, if you will, working under the radar by getting referrals from those who don’t have the gift for getting women. You see, Alex has turned his knack for being suave into a professional “date doctor” service. Smith is perfectly cast in this role because he is so darn likeable, isn’t he? Who could be his complete opposite?

In yet another stereotypical role that has accountants looking bad again (be nice, as it is tax time), Kevin James plays Albert, who is smitten with one of his clients. James – best known for his TV role on “The King of Queens” – does an excellent job here in this, his first feature-length picture. Director Andy Tennant does a good job using Kevin’s talents at what he obviously does best: comedy. Albert longs for client Allegra Cole (Amber Valetta) and even though she barely pays attention to him (other than professionally), he needs the tools that will make him appear to be cooler and not give off that fear factor of love. Women seem know when we are desperate, don’t they? Well, in this case, if white men can’t jump, then Albert can’t even dribble, so Hitch has his work cut out for him.

The chemistry between both Smith and James (sounds like a Western, huh?) is very good and you couldn’t put two complete opposites together and laugh so hard in the process. Seeing Kevin James try to be “cooler” in this role, along with his “gettin’ jiggy with it” dance moves – oh, my word, just priceless!

But there’s more to the story than just Albert’s dating woes. Can a pro in the world of dating, such as Alex, be having his own personal problems, too?

Casting Will Smith was a smooth move, because in “Hitch” we see him not just as the lady’s man, but one with a deep side as well. Is that possible?

Who better than Will Smith to bring out the child-like, “please don’t hurt me” persona? Can you say Eva Mendes? As Sara, she seems to have Hitch’s number and knows when to dial it up. Women will love seeing her character turn the suave “player” into a bungling idiot at times.

Still, in a movie that will have the female audience longing to coddle Smith again (he’s that good), “Hitch” is a date flick that guys will actually like seeing as well, I predict. A male version of the “chick flick” here? Well, maybe. But it plays well. Smith’s character is the epitome of every single guy’s dilemma: avoiding a long-term, committed relationship, not wanting to get burned again and, well, isn’t that every single woman’s dilemma as well? Maybe men aren’t from Mars after all, but just hiding out here in Lake Tahoe? Hmmmmm.

– Howie Nave is the host/emcee/manager of The Improv at Harveys every Tuesday through Sunday, and the comedian for The X Show every night except Monday. Howie appears on seven radio stations every Friday morning (including KOZZ 105.7) reviewing movies in California and Nevada.

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