A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hitch is a 2005 romantic comedy in which Will Smith plays a "date doctor" who falls in love with a gossip columnist. Hitch starts out the movie as a suave "pick-up artist" who teaches socially awkward guys how to meet and woo the girl of their dreams. As the movie goes on, it debates whether "date doctors" like him are manipulative creeps teaching underhanded techniques to lonely guys, or if what he's offering is a chance for nice guys who never seem to "get the girl" to overcome their shyness and lack of self-confidence and get dates. The answer to this debate, borne out of the direct experiences of the characters in the movie, suggests that love and attraction can't be won with formulas and guidelines. There's one male character who is very sleazy and tries to enlist Hitch to help him "bang" a woman for a one-night stand. There is some profanity, including "f--k." A woman chugs a bottle of wine while in the middle of an argument with a potential romantic interest.
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What's the story?
This romantic comedy centers on date doctor Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Will Smith), who advises men on how to appeal to the women of their dreams. He gives them tips on grooming and attire, reminds them to listen and respond, coaching them on just about everything. Hitch has it all figured out -- for other guys. His heart was broken once and he's never risked it again. Hitch's current assignment is a nebbishy accountant (Kevin James) who is in love with a beautiful heiress (Amber Valetta), whose love life is constantly documented by cynical, dubious gossip columnist Sarah (Eva Mendes). Meanwhile, unaware of Hitch's connection to the couple, Sarah goes on two dates with him, both of which develop serious, uh, hitches along the way.
Is it any good?
It's all familiar, and enjoyable, romantic comedy territory -- evasions, followed by complications, humiliations, the course of true love not running smoothly, and then a bit more smoothly. And then not smoothly again. Kevin James is wonderfully sweet and funny. His uninhibited dance is sublime, but so is the look on his face when he hands the heiress a pen, almost overcome by the thrill of giving her something.
The movie's biggest asset is Smith, who has everything it takes to be a romantic comedy superstar. His timing is perfection and he masters all kinds of comedy -- physical and verbal, high and low. No one is better at talking to the camera than he is. Mendes' lackluster performance is the result of a faulty script that leaves promising set-ups unfinished to pursue less interesting ideas. If it does not knock it out of the park, it at least qualifies as a triple, a pleasant date movie with one great performer, several laughs, and a couple of smiles.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea of a "date doctor." Do you think it's OK for people to have help finding love, or should love happen on its own terms?
How does Hitch change during the course of the movie? Who are some of the other characters who change? Who doesn't seem to change?
What are some of the ways in which this movie meets the criteria of being a "romantic comedy?"
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