“Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away.” When Hitch first hit theaters 15 years ago, the romantic comedy gave viewers a progressive spin on a classic genre.
Will Smith exudes confidence as Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, a suave dating coach and matchmaker who promises that he can help any man get the girl of his dreams. While helping a shy client (Kevin James) sweep a celebrity (Amber Valletta) off her feet, Hitch finds his toughest match: Sara, a gossip columnist who doesn’t fall for any of his tricks (Eva Mendes).
Though the movie still relies on some classic rom-com tropes to drive the plot forward, fans have always appreciated the ways in which it flips some of those stereotypes on their heads. The fictional dating doctor’s moves have even inspired a handful of advice columns over the years, teaching men how to be smart and successful in their romantic lives.
Hitch’s downfall comes when he tries to keep his true identity hidden from Sara. Eventually, she discovers what he does for a living and writes a scathing exposé that hurts his reputation — and threatens to ruin the relationship that his client built with his famous new flame.
The professional matchmaker teaches his clients to be considerate, to “listen and respond” to their dates and to just be themselves. However, he struggles when he’s faced with a woman who has her guard up in her romantic life. Sara forces Hitch to reassess his techniques and to ditch the “nice guys finish last” mentality at the door. Instead, he owns up to his mistakes and learns from them, righting his wrongs and proving that honesty is the most attractive quality a man can have.
What makes Hitch a stand-out romantic comedy is that it doesn’t take the easy way out. The characters have to work hard for their happy endings and, though he claims to know it all ahead of time, the matchmaker ends up learning a thing or two from his clients and the women they pursue. It’s an empowering movie with heartwarming performances by Smith and Mendes that make the audience believe that everyone is deserving of a chance at true love.
“Basic principles: no matter what, no matter when, no matter who … any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet,” Hitch explains in the film. “He just needs the right broom.”