February 15, 2005

What People Will Watch When Pickings Are Slim

On Saturday, quite a few other people had the same idea as the Cinecultist — to visit the Union Square cineplex for a movie. A whole snaking line nearly out the door and two long queues filling up the pay by credit card vestibule, plus a sold out 5:10 pm showing of Bride and Prejudice. As we stood there, still a bit shell shocked from the humanity overload in that lobby and trying to figure out what to do next, we started to eavesdrop on the animated conversation behind us. Two young men, college-aged and with the look of Dave Matthews Band fandom about them, were raving about how excited they were to see Hitch. Had we stumbled into a wormhole on Broadway and 13th Street? Two straight-seeming guys, with no girls in tow, psyched for a rom com? What kind of movie twilight zone had we entered here?

With this oddly placed recommendation in mind, we bought a ticket for the Will Smith and Eva Mendes flick, despite the misappropriation of the Master of Suspense’s nickname in the title. To our surprise, Hitch succeeds as a result of numerous small elements done deftly. A bunch of choice New York exteriors (look, Eva lives around the corner from our office!), character-driven as well as slapstick comedy and sweet little performances from unlikely pairings (ie. chubby comic Kevin James believably wooing former model Amber Valetta).

From Carla Meyer’s review in the San Francisco Chronicle which sums up well another aspect of its appeal—

Hitch' has served up a duo we didn't know we were missing: well-drawn, sharp, gorgeous characters of color in a big-budget romantic comedy. These are parts that usually go to Jim Carrey and Sandra Bullock, but this time they didn't, because Smith has enough clout to get a movie like this made. If five Oscar nominations for black actors represents a breakthrough, than so does "Hitch.'' The most satisfying part is that the movie's so good.

In summation, any movie which invents a dance move called "the Q-tip" can't be all bad.

Posted by karen at February 15, 2005 8:54 AM