Hitch is not entertainment with factory-assembled precision, even if it is a respite from the usual monotony of slapstick humor. The story is about Alfred Hitch Hitchens, who is a consultant - he cures you of yourself. He makes you make out the best of your dates, in spite of yourself. He is not your normal scumbag consultant, because, from time to time, he actually cares for his clients.
Hitch prefers to stay anonymous and accepts new clients only on referrals from his satisfied clients. Once on, you are navigated through your first three dates, with the precision of a turnkey project. He does extensive background research on his client's target woman, like finding out her incompetence to execute a whistle at a rowdy soccer game.
Hitch's newest client is Albert Brennaman (Kevin James), a fat tax accountant in hopeless love with celebrity Allegra Cole (Amber Valetta). Hitch decides to make Albert's dreams click, but requires him to do the first ninety percent - to have his buttocks waxed and his nails clipped - on his own.
Sara Melas (Eva Mendes) is a gossip columnist, unbelieving in the rumors of true love. Hitch meets Sara while she is following up some dirt on Allegra, and he is scooping wisdom for his prodigy, Albert. Sara professes to be off the dating arena of the town, but still ends up dating Hitch - not once, but twice.
Hitch, who went by the mantra that any woman could be swept off her feet and you just needed to have the right broom, now feels as if he has lost the keys to the broom cupboard. Sara, in the meantime, finds out that Hitch is the famous date doctor, cheating women all over the town. She decides to be angry with him with the vengeance of a true lover, though they have hardly met. And all in the noble cause of justice for women's rights.
Will Smith has been able to smartly carry off the dual role of a hardcore professional and a sensitively passionate man. And thankfully, keeps off the loud-mouthed dullsville. Eva Mendes, as a snappy journalist, comes out well as someone who is stunned by the verb in Hitch before she can comprehend the noun. And Kevin James looks hilarious, with the look of stranded-up-the-creek-without-a-paddle in his eyes.
The movie is a fine specimen of crossing cosmopolitan pressures with peppered home-truths. Though it will not induce terminal giggling, it will certainly evoke enough satisfied smiles.