Alex “Hitch” Hitchens is a professional “date doctor” who teaches guys with low self-esteem how to get the girl of their dreams. He’s made a science of studying women, tracing the hidden meanings behind their every word and act. He insists that his methods aren’t deceptive; they merely “create opportunities.” And, so far, he’s created a lot of good ones for his clients.
So Hitch is on the job and raring to go when Albert Brennaman shows up. The goofy, good-hearted accountant wants to date the beautiful, famous and filthy rich Allegra Cole. (She hardly knows he exists.) But in the process of trying to set up Albert and Allegra, Hitch discovers his own dream woman: Sara, a gossip columnist for a local tabloid whose assignment is to follow Allegra’s every move.
Hitch soon finds that he needs his own services. Sara’s been burned by a relationship one too many times and is now a cynic when it comes to men. Can the smooth-talking love expert dismantle her protective wall?
Hitch makes a point to build up the self-esteem of his clients. At various times, he encourages insecure and lonely men by telling them they’re unique and have something no other man can offer. He also urges them to keep a positive outlook.
Albert risks his job by standing up for Allegra’s rights. He encourages her to follow her dreams and take control rather than allow others to tell her what to do.
Sara talks about her deep love for her younger sister. She also helps Hitch as he battles a food allergy. (Although he ends up at her apartment, he sleeps fully clothed on her sofa). Later, she apologizes to him for prejudging him and jumping to conclusions.
When Hitch asks Sara out on a Sunday morning date, her boss comments that she obviously won’t be attending church that day. Allegra compares Hitch to the devil, and a potential client sarcastically calls him a rabbi.
Hitch advises men to listen to women when they talk rather than simply picturing them naked. But Sara tells Hitch to go to a “t-tty bar.” From Sara to female bar-hoppers, women show lots of skin (at least once, the camera goes in for a close-up of cleavage). Albert is shown in his underwear.
While Hitch stresses chivalry to his clients and specifically dumps one when he finds out all the man wants is sex, the movie itself assumes that a series of “good” dates will eventually end in the bedroom. Slang terms for intercourse (“screw,” “bang,” “lay,” etc.) get used frequently. Sara complains, “What is it about guys that makes them want to screw everything that walks?”
Hitch tries to teach Albert the smooth way to kiss a woman goodnight. Albert takes to the lesson a bit too enthusiastically and ends up kissing Hitch. Sara’s friend asks her if Hitch is gay. Hitch’s gay doorman asks if Hitch can help his situation. Couples make out in a library and in a car. Sara’s best friend reveals that she slept with a notorious womanizer. We see an after-the-fact shot of an unmarried man and woman in bed (no nudity). A sidewalk shop owner makes a suggestive joke about Albert bedding Allegra.
Despite his wife sitting at home pregnant, Hitch’s brother-in-law ogles women at a bar, even as he preaches to Hitch about the unconditional love found in marriage. Hitch doesn’t help; he offers to bring the women over, bragging about how they’ll end up at his apartment.
All the violence is slapstick and played for laughs. Hitch jumps on a moving car and is then thrown from it when the driver stomps on the brake. Hitch wrestles Albert, slaps him in the face and puts him in headlock. Albert returns the favor by later trying to strangle Hitch. Albert also vents his frustration over a mishap by tearing up a newsstand. (He’s arrested for his outburst.) The love doctor shows his aggressive side when he slams a jerk’s face into a table. Hitch accidentally kicks his date in the head. Taking revenge on a guy who’s treated her best friend badly, Sara knees him in the groin.
An f-word and a couple of s-words. God’s name is misused at least a dozen times (once with “d–n”); Jesus’ name gets tossed around twice. Around 20 other milder profanities (including “a–hole”).
Hitch does much of his work in nightclubs, and there are frequent mentions of various alcoholic drinks. Wine is consumed with meals. Sara downs a Grey Goose martini, and Hitch orders her another. The couple shares a bottle of wine as Hitch makes an eloquent toast, but Sara soon begins guzzling straight from the bottle.
After Hitch’s face begins to swell from a food allergy, he downs a bottle of Benadryl, then staggers around under the influence of the drug.
Though Hitch romanticizes its main character’s job, manipulation and lying are sometimes at the core of Hitch’s matchmaking. He gets paid to set up situations to make men look like heroes and ultimately deceive women into thinking they’re something they’re not. His motto: “With no guile and no game, there’s no girl.”
Everyone loves Will Smith. His name is synonymous with summer blockbuster. It could be argued that the actor breaks new ground here by lending his talents to a romantic comedy (released in February, not July) instead of another action romp, and the film does have its moments. But a plodding pace and predictable story severely undermine the effort.
Hitch tries to make an admirable statement about true love, stressing that it can’t be manufactured. Indeed, traces of a 1 Corinthians 13 love can be found in some of the characters’ willingness to overlook the flaws of their significant others. Nonetheless, the quest for love isn’t an excuse to bypass moral flaws—most noticeably the underlying role of manipulation and deception in Hitch’s job and the flippant treatment of sex, not to mention the harsh language. Hitch may be smooth, but his movie isn’t.