Okay, so I rented and saw Hitch with Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James and Amber Valetta.
Overall - not awful. Not great. Smith has leading-man charisma, Mendes wasn’t “light up the screen” amazing, but seemed intelligent and pretty, Kevin James was pretty funny and Amber was beautiful, if not the greatest actress in the world.
So I sat there wondering why it didn’t work - obviously it starts with the script. I decided the following: Unlike, say, Spencer/Tracy good romantic comedies, the conflict between our lovers in Hitch was bad, sitcom-based misunderstanding crap.
Because I love a great rom-com and was driving for a couple of hours this morning, I decided to rewrite Hitch - here goes:
- Scrap the subplot where the pig guy is trying to “bang” the girl who turns out to be Eva/Sarah’s best friend.
- Instead, have the guy be a really great guy, but whose love for the best friend is likely to be doomed to failure - their families don’t get along, he probably has to marry to meet family business needs - something like that.
- Eva/Sarah is cynical and thinks her best friend should walk away.
- Eva and Hitch meet. Through a series of events, they learn that her best friend is seeing one of his clients and they debate light-heartedly about both sides - she is the cynical realist who thinks that if there is no chance just walk away; he is the hopeful romantic who supports the effort because love will find a way.
- Then, the awful happens - the man has to do what we all feared, and Eva’s best friend is crushed. Eva, in defense of her best friend, takes a stand and she and Hitch have a knock-down fight over the fundamental belief in falling in love vs. protecting those you love. They split up.
- Much drifting and misery ensues.
- Eventually, through an interesting twist, Hitch sees that he can’t just ignore reality and Eva/Sarah realizes she loves him and they figure out how to overcome their beliefs so love can prevail. And, because this is a rom-com, the man Hitch was helping ends up not having to go through with his arranged marriage and can hook up with the best friend. The end.
The basic point here is that our lead characters get to have an actual, passionate conflict based on real beliefs, not a stupid misunderstanding.