Hitch
2005
Smooth and sexy Hitch helps clueless clients make a great first impression with their dates so they can get to the second date. But when a lovely gossip reporter starts nosing around his business, Hitch has to figure out a whole new strategy to love.

Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

Maybe this movie was doomed from the start. As you know from the unavoidable trailer (the same one that spoils every good joke), it's about an unflappably smooth ladies man who can play every romantic note perfectly, and an endearingly clueless schmoe who doesn't let his total lack of sophistication stop him from yearning for women way out of his league. Think for a second: Which man would be far more interesting as the lead in a romantic comedy? Now guess which man this movie makes the colossal mistake of focusing on instead. Hey, there's a certain appeal to Mr. James Bond in the first two acts of the movie, but sooner or later he must get out of the way for Mr. Everyman to triumph over the odds in the end, since the slob is the only one facing any odds and the only one capable of inspiring audience sympathy. The movie contrives a subplot about how the ladies man loses his cool whenever he's around the leading lady so that his story can pretend to have some tension, but after seeing him in action, it's not plausible for a minute.

This fundamental miscalculation is symptomatic of a larger problem with the movie, that it's always looking in the wrong place. When the leading man finally lays his heart on the line at a speed-dating event, the movie focuses on the anonymous bit player next to him. When the leading lady is suddenly moved to tears and storms off on the first date, the scene lingers on her companion instead of following her. Later, when the leading man's talking to her through her apartment door and trying to express his genuine feelings, the camera looks through the peephole and distorts his face like a funhouse mirror, but that scene cries out to be told from his point of view, not hers. The whole movie is one mistake after another, with jarringly inappropriate sight gags, torrents of phony-sounding exposition in the leading lady's introductory scenes, and far more Fred Flintstone misunderstandings than any movie should be allowed to have. It takes one hell of a big mess for these four appealing lead actors not to make a difference, but this movie is that bad. Stay away.

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