Well. Time has not been kind to this one, and I think that’s undeserved. Like most people, everything I do revolves around what’s on Netflix, so when they recently added this mediocrely successful 2005 romcom, I knew I was going to rewatch it. It’s one of those movies you can always be in the mood to watch because it’s light and easy and I actually love Kevin James. I’ve never seen an episode of King of Queens and I think that’s how I’m able to love him.
This is a movie starring Kevin, Will Smith, Eva Mendes and Amber Valletta as Allegra Cole. Now, prior to watching I was pre-emptively cringing at the idea of what screenwriting about gender roles in 2005. The culture is moving pretty fast and when there are offensive gay jokes in old episodes of Gilmore Girls (I know!!!) you assume some Will Smith vehicle is going to be much worse.
SURPRISE!!!!! IT’S NOT!!!! There was almost NOTHING that set off my feminist alarm bells! Even at the end when Eva Mendes’ unlucky in love best friend Casey meets someone conveniently, it’s because SHE saves his grandma’s life! More on this later.
This movie SEEMS to be some sort of pickup artist weird ploy to manipulate women into falling in love (Will Smith plays Alex Hitchins “Hitch,” “The Date Doctor”) but actually, we are all cynics and we have it wrong- he’s not TRICKING women, he’s creating OPPORTUNITIES for them to ‘get out of their own way.’ Which, lol, but let’s just go with it for the movie.
There’s a scene where he demonstrates this ironclad ethic by rejecting some guy named Vance because he just wants to fuck a girl. See! He’s all about LOVE. Which is ironical, because he won’t let himself love!!! Through a wonderful flashback we see Hitch in college (where he supposed to be geeky and he has cornrows and glasses and a dashiki but honestly fashion has changed since 2005 and he looks way hotter in the flashback than he does in the rest of the movie-where he sports a Hermes belt and striped button downs OPEN over t-shirts). In the flashback we see he was in love with this girl (Lisa?) but she wasn’t as in love with him and she breaks his heart and now he protects himself by not letting himself experience love. Because if you never love, you can never get hurt. Like that quote about ships in the harbor. You know what I’m talking about right? Anyway. Will Smith is a ship and love is an ocean and he is on land. But he’s giving sailing lessons!
Here comes a schooner and it’s Kevin James and he is deep in the water for this woman (alright, enough with this metaphor) that his financial firm is advising. Who is she? We never really find out why she’s famous or rich, she just seems to be one of those beautiful rich people. At one point Kevin (Albert Brennaman) says something like, “she’s been dealing with this her whole life” leading us to believe she was either born into money, or became famous very young. Honestly Amber Valletta could be playing a fictionalized version of herself? No matter. So, in true romcom fashion, an ordinary man gets paired with a supermodel (literally for those of you who don’t know Amber Valletta).
Also Eva Mendes’ character works at a magazine or newspaper or something- but she’s a gossip columnist, which apparently in 2005 wasn’t regarded as evil the way it is today. She’s painted as a cynic (who calls herself a realist!) married to her job, jaded by men, doesn’t believe in love, etc.
So naturally WILL SMITH HAS MET HIS MATCH. It’s always like this- two people who are completely shut down to the possibilities life has to offer who meet someone who’s so specifically perfect they draw them out of their self-made preservation cocoon and then they realize how beautiful and precious life/love/laughter really is. Why can’t it just be two people who work together who over a period of a few months or years get to know each other and realize they either have a lot in common or a lot different and decide to explore their lives together? I want that movie.
But no we have this one where everyone is secretly setting everyone else up. Hitch works his magic with Albert and he goes on some dates with Allegra and they’re doing great, also he goes on some dates with Eva (Sara Melas) and they’re doing great. But it’s because he did so BADLY on the dates and she finds it ENDEARING. (Everything in romantic comedies is a trap).
Ahh I’m kind of sick of talking about this movie-writing about it is making me like it less- and I don’t really have anything to say. I liked it, I thought it was light and sweet. Of course everyone gets together in the end, despite horrible occurrences towards the middle of the film, and everyone whose reputation was smeared got a chance to humanize themselves to the ones they love (main characters only).
That’s kind of annoying because that’s not how things happen in life- a lot of times people think you’re a dick and maybe you were being a dick (and maybe you weren’t) but you don’t always get to control other’s opinions of you, and I think this narrative creates worse break ups because it’s so important for one person to EXPLAIN themselves to the other party, when really, you don’t get to do that all the time. Sometimes you just fuck up and then you have one person who doesn’t like you. And that’s fine.
I kind of went on a tangent here, but what isn’t relevant when talking about Hitch? Exactly.
Basically, if you want to escape your own banal reality watch this movie where Will Smith makes out with Eva Mendes and gas is probably 89 cents!
Three out of six Hermes belts, would probably masturbate again