Hitch - A dumb affair: Review
Hollywood is into a feel good season. It is spring, and the colours look lovelier. After Richard Gere’s tap-dancing lessons in “Shall We Dance”, Madras/Chennai is all set to watch (from April 15 2005) the often-humorous exploits of a date doctor in Andy Tennant’s “Hitch”, also set in New York. The city’s softer, mellower side is highlighted, a city where men and women are eager to bond, with jobs and careers merely providing a necessary distraction.
But “Hitch’s” theme appeared vaguely familiar to me. It took me a while to figure out that B.R Chopra’s Bollywood film, “Chhoti Si Baat”, had a somewhat similar story. Will Smith in “Hitch” is a younger version of Ashok Kumar in the Hindi movie, where a bumbling Amol Palekar is helped to woo and win Vidya Sinha. Kevin James is a fatter copy of Palekar, and Amber Valletta is the more glamorous Sinha.
However, “Hitch” has none of the disarming simplicity of “Chhoti Si Baat”, nor its utterly lovable characterizations that mesmerised Indian cinema audiences in the mid -1970s.
“Hitch” after a point veers off into Smith’s screen life: here is a guy who helps countless men win the affection of women who are better looking than they are. But when Smith meets gossip columnist Eva Mendes, out to get her kill by tracking down the date doctor whom she has never seen, the fledgling attraction between the two turns into romance and misunderstanding, and eventually love.
Beyond this, Columbia Tristar’s “Hitch” provides little by way of intelligent entertainment, and the movie often stumbles on a path paved with too many coincidences. Oh, yes, Smith – who is called Alex Hitchens (Hitch for short) – has to have had an unhappy affair that propels him towards helping others to succeed. And, yes, there is the scene at the end where Hitch tries smoothening ruffled feathers, a sequence that appears so clichéd.
“Hitch” is fine viewing provided you act dumb and are not in the mood to ask uncomfortable questions.
(This review appeared in The Hindu dated April 15 2005)