It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…
1 Cor. 13:5
Will Smith brings just the right flair to the character of Alex “Hitch” Hitchens to keep us watching this romantic comedy, despite its many flaws. Hitch coaches tongue-tied single males in the ways of romance so that they can approach the woman of their dreams and establish a lasting relationship. Think Cyrano de Bergerac among the towers of Manhattan. Hitch is against lying and manipulating women—he harshly turns down one lothario when the cad reveals he wants just a one night stand with a hard to get woman—but, the “Date Doctor,” as he becomes known by his fans, insists that a man “needs a plan.” Just how smooth a man with a plan can be we see in a night spot when he sidles up to tart-tongued Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), lowers her defenses by talking about typical male come-ons, and then surprises her by walking away, rather than attempting to wheedle a date from her. Usually ready for a quick come-back, Sara is left speechless–and intrigued.
Hitch’s current client is pudgy Albert Brennaman (Kevin James), a CPA with exceptionally low self-esteem who has fallen for a major client of his firm, Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). We are not told why she is so rich and famous—probably a super model, she being so beautiful—but she apparently lacks self-confidence herself because she meets regularly with all the accountants before making any investment decisions. Coached by Hitch to make her notice him—he has always sat in silence at the long table presided over by his stern boss—Albert contradicts his boss’s advice to Allegra about not investing in a friend’s business. His colleagues are aghast at this unheard of breech of protocol–at such meetings only the head of the firm is to speak. Rising in the passion of the moment before his startled colleagues, Albert tells Allegra to follow her own desires. He makes clear what the boss can do, and and then he resigns. This definitely gets Allegra’s attention, but when she knocks on his office door, Albert is so speechless that he does not let her in. Fortunately Hitch is there hiding behind the door and Cyrano-like, whispers the right words to say so that Albert agrees to meet Allegra later.
In the meantime, Sara, gossip columnist for a tabloid, is tracking down rumors of the “Date Doctor” that so many women have been talking about. Not knowing it is Hitch, she agrees, after putting him off because of her overcrowded schedule, to a Sunday morning (7 a.m.!) date that turns out to be a tour of the harbor on two jet boats that ends at Ellis Island. This and other get togethers turn out somewhat disastrously, Hitch, now that he has finally met the One Girl, forgetting all his sage advice to others and becoming a bumbling nerd himself.
The film requires a lot of suspension of belief at times, but charming actors bring the four major parts to life, so that the result is a pleasant date film a little above the usual level of such throwaway films. Although much of Hitch’s advice is bumper-sticker quality, his insistence that his clients listen to their date with genuine interest and pursue the intended’s interests, and not just their own, isn’t bad. Hitch shows that he understands the first part of Paul’s statement about love, but when Sara betrays him, we see that he has a lot to learn about the second part.
1) What is it that Hitch really does to help people like Albert? Much later, he tells Allegra that he did “nothing,” that Albert won her heart on his own. However, what do you think his “nothing” was? If you saw Magnolia, compare Hitch to the guru Frank T.J. Mackey played by Tom Cruise.
2) How is meeting members of the opposite sex a risky or harrowing experience? Why do you think this is the case? With whom do you identify most closely with: Hitch or Albert; Sara or Allegra? How have churches ministered to and with singles? Does yours?
3) What does Sara’s story about her sister falling through the ice reveal about her? What do you think Hitch’s observation about the story —”Sort of defines you”— means?
4) Sara’s comments, “It’s best not to love at all, right?” How is this the watchword for many people injured by someone in their past? But what is the alternative? (Remember Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock”? What is a current song that deals with such a theme?
5) It might be a bit corny, but what truth do you see in Hitch telling Sara, “That’s what people do…We leap, and hope that we can fly.., There’s one person who makes me feel I can fly. You.” How is this true, not just for lovers, but for everyone? Do you belong to a circle or group that makes you feel you can “fly”? How can the church at its best do this for members?