in time for Valentine's Day this year, Sony released a romantic
comedy in Big Willie Style, Hitch.
Though frothy and flawed (which, really, is par for the
course), the movie rightfully scored big with audiences.
Maybe June seems
the right time for a DVD release. Isn't it still the most
popular month for weddings? At any rate, Hitch hit
the home video market last week and it still works.
After a few
months of letting it live in memory, Hitch actually
raised in estimation. A lot of that has to do with Will
Smith's breezy way with the material, but as director Andy
Tennant points out in an extra featurette, there's also
the confidence and generosity that Smith has in letting
Kevin James steal the movie out from under him.
between the two hits the mark, and if they don't work together
again, it will be a shame. They have far more natural give
and take then Smith has had in his teamings with more intense
actors like Tommy Lee Jones.
This alone makes
the movie stand out. It may even make my personal best of
2005 list. There have been better movies this year, but
few that I really wanted to make time to see again.
Sony has been
holding back on extras with their DVD releases, and thus
the package on Hitch seems almost extravagant. The
movie plays on its own, with no commentary option, and that's
more than okay. Somebody at Sony got smart and realized
they could keep from duplicating too much information; instead,
the cast and crew do enough commenting in the featurettes.
Of those featurettes,
the best is the focus on Smith and James working out their
hilarious dance sequence. Taken out of context, it's still
funny; seeing what got cut from the final film is just as
funny. I can hardly wait to try the "slow thriller." Even
having Tennant try to dissect it (James pretends to) doesn't
take away from the dance being funny.
some focus on New York City, and how unusual it was to be
able to film in all the locations they did. Give Tennant
some credit as a director; though he had some rare access
to places, the locations never distract from the story.
featurettes undercut the message of the movie, and blow
a little of the good will Smith earned. One focuses on his
fashion, one on his effort to set a world record for most
public appearances in 12 hours by a celebrity (good lord,
have we sunk so low?) and the last one, though interesting,
does exactly the opposite of what the character Hitch concludes:
gives dating advice. At least it will take up less of your
time than reading a self-help book.
comedies feature a shot at a pop hit, the disc includes
a music video by Amerie, "1 Thing." In the absence of MTV,
it will do. The obligatory blooper reel also appears, unfortunately
mostly of the cast just blowing lines. It does rise above
the usual when James or Smith riff, but such instances are
Deleted Scenes. Making an interesting change, Tennant presents
the opening seven minutes of the film with an alternate
soundtrack; in this case, a score that he eventually dropped
in favor of a song. The mix turns up the music and muffles
the dialogue, so it's not quite the same as actually hearing
what a difference it might have made. As for the rest of
the deleted scenes, while they're competent enough, Tennant
was absolutely right to have cut them.
leaves you with a charming movie. Hitch stands up
on repeated viewings, so if you're interested, it will make
a good addition to your home collection and you might learn
some good dance moves that you dare not ever use in public.