It appears Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) has only one goal in mind: To help nice guys finish first. Having spent many of my pre-married years impressing the mothers of my dates more than the girls themselves, I can see a real need for a guy like "Hitch."
Known as New York City's "Date Doctor," he carefully and confidentially orchestrates subtle matchmaking tasks allowing very nice but not obviously handsome men meet the women of their dreams. It's a job that requires discretion and secrecy, yet still allows him to collect his fee and feel like he's done some good in the Big Apple.
Always willing to accept a challenge, Hitch really stretches his abilities when he takes on Albert (Kevin James) as a client. The meek accountant is enamored with Allegra Cole (Amber Valetta), a glamorous celebrity who has employed Albert's firm to handle her finances. Although receiving pointers on how to dance and be a suave, sophisticated womanizer, the klutzy bean counter doesn't really gain Allegra's attention until he quits his job in demonstrative fashion.
Meanwhile, Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), a gossip columnist, has her pen and paparazzi photographer following Allegra's every move. When the superstar begins showing up at Knicks' games with the somewhat pudgy and unknown Albert on her arm, the reporter is determined to get the scoop on what's happening.
Oddly enough, that presents a big problem for Hitch. The confirmed professional bachelor has become absolutely smitten with Sara, whom he bumped into between coaching sessions with Albert. After a disastrous series of first dates, he is finally beginning to make a good impression. But their relationship is on track for a train wreck if Sara puts the pieces together and discovers her new man is the infamous Date Doctor.
Bursting with cute moments, Hitch manages to pull off one hilarious scene after the next thanks to near perfect chemistry and comedic timing, especially between the male actors. Will Smith plays his part in an enjoyable fashion that is bound to charm audiences, however relative newcomer Kevin James steals the screen whenever he's in the frame. His performance explodes in sincerity and energy, allowing us to easily believe a rich glamor girl could fall for this rotund stuffed shirt.
The setup has the added benefit of presenting a positive example for young viewers about looking past a person's outward appearance, and discovering what is truly important.
Alas, while this film offers surprisingly little opportunity for its key characters to engage in sexual pursuits (aside from a brief, comedic male/male kiss that repulses both parties), unnecessary profanities are plentiful, as are a few other sexual comments and innuendo.
Parents should also note a scene in which Hitch has a severe reaction to seafood. Instead of seeking medical help, he drops by a pharmacy and purchases a bottle of Benedryl, from which he drinks liberally with a straw. Although the resulting intoxication is played for laughs, in reality this gross misuse of medication has the potential to become a dangerous situation.
Does the good outweigh the bad? There's no doubt this film can provide a couple of hours of humorous entertainment... it's just too bad it can't come without a hitch.