In New York, there are rumors of a man called the "Date Doctor" who gives advice to Unlucky Everydudes and Dogged Nice Guys on how to get the affections of the ladies they admire. It turns out the "Date Doctor" really does exist—his name is Alex "Hitch" Hitchins (played by Will Smith). He gets hired by Albert Brennaman (Kevin James), who is a meek CPA in love with the beautiful and sweet heiress Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta). Meanwhile, Hitch bumps into Sara Melas (Eva Mendes): a rather cynical gossip columnist, and the two hit it off. Despite all of his expert advice and knowledge of women, all of their dates turn into crazy mishaps. But somewhere in there, they begin to fall for one another...
This film provides examples of:
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: There exists in real life a "Pick-Up Artist" culture of men who consider themselves skilled at wooing women. Some of them are manipulative and unrepentant jerkasses like Vance, while others are genuinely nice guys like Hitch who coach clueless guys on how to become less clueless about women. In some ways, the ending of this movie is a Deconstruction of this "Pick-Up Artist" culture.
- Analogy Backfire:Hitch: That man would have sold his soul to make you happy.
Allegra: So what does that make you? The Devil?
- Asian Rudeness: The cashier at the convenience store where Hitch and Sara buy the Benadryl is of Asian descent and quite rude, though his accent is American and Hitch and Sara are too distracted by Hitch's allergy to notice.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: In a deleted scene:Hitch: (to Sara, who's relieving herself behind some bushes) You need some help?!
Sara: Help?! Peeing?!
- Bad Date: Hitch goes on a jet ski date and accidentally kicks his date in the face, then accidentally forces her to confront the reality of her genocidal ancestor, and on another date has a bad reaction to food and gets drunk off of Benadryl.
- Benevolent Boss: Sara's. He was tough when he needed to be, but it turns out he cares about Sara and her relationship with Hitch as he notices they care about each other.
- Berserk Button:
- Hitch believes that his job is to help decent but awkward men find the love they deserve, so NOTHING gets him more FURIOUS than assholes who use his teachings to play with women's feelings, and he was more than willing to break a womanizing asshole's wrist when he did just that. (Hitch calls them "Men who hate women")
- Albert is set off by a news-stand manager who asks him "So how was she? Pretty good, huh?" after he and Allegra break up.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Hitch is an Aikido expert who can snap your arm in half if he wants to, as the sleazy Vance Munson finds out the hard way.
- Black and Nerdy: Hitch was a massive dorkwad in his younger years, with prominent glasses, terrible luck and poor social skills.
- Boyfriend Bluff: Hitch does this when he first meets Sara to help her ditch an excessively pushy suitor.
- Broken Ace: Downplayed but present with Hitch. A bad past relationship experience has sworn him off them for himself even though pairing other people is his job.
- Broken Aesop: After a conversation with Allegra reveals Albert charmed her with various things that Hitch had warned him not to do, Hitch later says there are no "basic principles" (his previous catchphrase) - to find love, you should just be yourself. However, Albert still would not have had a shot, or even taken the shot, without the prodding and lecturing of Hitch, especially the opening scene that sets up their first date, and in general it was shown that Hitch first and foremost boosted the confidence of his clients in their ability to get the girl to notice them - being themselves, even when they were a likable guy, just wasn't enough. Confirmed in-story, as Hitch gets Allegra to admit that without his help, she probably would have never noticed Albert.
- Camp Gay: Hitch's doorman Raoul. Sara's co-worker Geoff is also gay, but a bit less campy compared to Raoul.
- The Charmer: Hitch alternates between this with his (usually male) clients and something of an informed Chivalrous Pervert in his personal life, though his intentions towards Sara were more on this side from the start as well.
- Chekhov's Gun: Sara mentions having a married sister. When Hitch makes his Anguished Declaration of Love to her at the end, there is a man in her apartment. Turns out it's her brother-in-law.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Vance initially just seems like a one-off character to show that Hitch has standards and won't help anyone who's just looking for a quick lay. Then he pops up later to hook up with and uses Casey while name-dropping Hitch, indirectly jeopardizing his entire career.
- Chekhov's Skill: Albert teaches Allegra how to whistle with her fingers. Comes in handy when Albert tries to choke the shit out of Hitch and she needs to get him to stop.
- Closed Door Rapport: Between Hitch and Sara at the end of the movie. It's an interesting variation of the trope, because Hitch asks Sara to close the door (because as shown earlier in the movie he's accustomed to hiding behind the door while the guy he's coaching is doing the talking).
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Somewhat downplayed with Sara who doesn't show the Ice Queen part until she libels Hitch out of his job and Albert (almost) out of the love of his life.
- Deadpan Snarker: The cashier at the convenience store.Sara : Where's the Benadryl?
Cashier: In Aisle 2.
Sara: Where's Aisle 2?
Cashier: The one with the big '2' over it.
- Endearingly Dorky: Although following the spirit of Hitch's advice, Albert mainly manages to charm Allegra by being who he really is...which involves bad dancing, teaching her to whistle, and dropping mustard on his shirt.Hitch: So, wait...that stuff worked for you?
Allegra: It was adorable.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Beautiful and sweet heiress Allegra Cole.
- "Eureka!" Moment: When Hitch realizes his services aren't actually as needed as he thought and that people will still fall in love without his help, which leads to...
- Food Slap: After Sara finds out who Hitch really is, they argue and one of them throws a small piece of food at the other. He ends up tossing a salad on her.
- Gender Flip: Hitch runs one of his schemes in reverse at the end, helping a woman catch the eye of a man.
- Groin Attack: Sara gives Vance Munson a well-deserved one.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Allegra, a blonde, beautiful, wealthy heiress who is also a total sweetheart who is secretly just as much of a dork as Albert.
- Hilarious Outtakes: And how. Seen here.
Hitch: You've got shoes on. Got your hair pulled back. So... Will you make love with me?*everyone breaks down laughing*
- The icing on the cake is when Will Smith improvises his scene of meeting Sara with what appears to be an entire sandwich in his mouth, causing the cast and crew to completely lose their shit laughing.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Albert for Allegra. Also, Hitch for Albert, as he realizes that he's not just a client, but a friend.
- Jerkass: Vance Munson. Hitch is horrified about his views on women and his intentions for Casey, and refuses to work with him.
- Kick the Dog: Vance calls Casey a "lousy lay" after falsely informing Sara that Hitch helped him trick her. Sara responds by kicking him in the crotch.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In a moment of anger and frustration Albert destroys a newsstand because the guy behind the stall teased him. When we cut back to him, he's being arrested by two cops. Oops.
- Ladykiller in Love: Hitch's job is relationships but he himself doesn't have them, opting to use his prowess for short-term fun instead. Cue Sara.
- Letting Her Hair Down: As the film progresses, Sara's clothing gets more elegant and feminine as a result of her letting down some of her many walls. She begins the film in a sharp pants suit and ends it in a lovely dress. Plus she wears her hair in looser styles. While she still sometimes puts her hair up, it's not as severe as when Hitch first sees her.
- Loners Will Stay Alone: The protagonist couldn't find anyone accepting him for who he was, and so he became something else.
- Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Misogynist Jerkass Vance has a one-night stand with Casey and later when he's confronting her Best Friend Sara, he insults Casey by calling her a "lousy lay" who isn't worth the trouble, prompting Sara to knee him in the crotch.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Hitch happens to explain this very well:Hitch: Because that's what people do. They leap and hope to God they can fly because otherwise they just drop like a rock, wondering the whole way down "Why in the hell did I jump?" But here I am, Sara, falling...and there's only one person who makes me feel like I can fly, and that's you.
- Magic Feather: Hitch realises that he was basically this to Albert at the end, when talking with Allegra reveals that everything that attracted her to Albert was what Hitch told him not to do and all Hitch really did was give Albert the courage to approach Allegra in the first place.
- Meaningful Name: Hitch's full name is Alex Hitchens. The phrase "to get hitched" means "to get married", which is pretty much the point of Hitch's job to help people fall in love and eventually get married.
- Meta Casting: One of the most defining traits of Will Smith in general is how big of a charmer he is in real life. Thus casting him as someone who passes on his skills in charming people seems like absolutely perfect casting.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: Slightly implied, as the people in the speed-dating session immediately perk up at the news that Hitch is the 'Date Doctor', and seem to actually listen to everything he's saying. It's not a stretch to think that even those few words of advice won't help some of them to take a chance and find love.
- Misplaced Retribution: After Sara's friend slept with a jerk who dumped her on their one-night stand, the jerk dropped Hitch's name as the one who helped him woo her, even though this was a spiteful lie on his part (as Hitch refused to help Vance). Sara is then convinced that Hitch tricks women into sleeping with Jerkass men and libels not only him but also his current client Albert in her column. While the former is Poor Communication Kills, since she never confirmed Vance's claim, the latter is Misplaced Retribution since Sara doesn't even know Albert and simply thought he hired Hitch to sleep with a girl. Truthfully, Albert is just a dorky worker who actually needed Hitch to impress an Uptown Girl and Sara's column torpedoed his relationship (if only for a short time).
- Mr. Fanservice: The extended scene with Hitch in his sleeveless running outfit later in the film.
- My Card: As in another movie with Will Smith, Hitch disguises the nature of his business by using a brown plastic square with his phone number written out (One Two Three, etc) as his business card.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After the fight at the speed-dating seminar, and Hitch's speech, Sara tries to hold onto her outrage but pretty quickly slides into this.Sara: (in a very small voice) Can you believe that guy?
Casey: Actually...I do.
- Not What It Looks Like: Unfortunately, Albert doesn't realize Hitch and Allegra are hugging because Hitch discovered he doesn't have to be The Date Doctor since men and women can still find love on their own. Choking ensues.
- One Side of the Story: When Sara learns that Hitch is the date doctor she's been trying to get revenge on, not only does she ruin his career and his client's reputation, she never bothers to find out whether or not he actually worked with the guy who mentioned him.
- Painful Body Waxing: Albert gets his back waxed, yelling in pain with each pull. Hitch, who is on the phone with Sara while this is happening, ends up pushing Albert's face down into the pillow to muffle his cries.
- Poor Communication Kills: Sara destroys Hitch's career as the Date Doctor because of a scumbag who dropped his title after breaking her friend's heart. Because she refused to state why she was angry with Hitch, she never learned until much later that Hitch refused to help the Jerkass because of his view of women.
- Protagonist Title: Hitch is the name of the protagonist and the title of the movie.
- Red-and-White Comedy Poster: It's a rom-com and the movie poster shows a red title on white background.
- Secret Test of Character: Hitch doesn't take on every client who finds out about him — he's only willing to help people who are romantically interested in someone, he doesn't help guys get one-night stands and he doesn't help them if they aren't really in love. This is why he spends some time talking to his clients and asking about the woman they're asking for help with to feel out what their motivations are and if they're sincere in their feelings or not.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Played with. Hitch actually refused to help Vance seduce Casey, even though he gets blamed for it. In the final scene, he helps her get hooked up.
- Sherlock Scan: Hitch pulls one on Sara's "unapproachable girl" schtick when he first meets her.Hitch: You're sending all the right signals: no earrings, heels under two inches, your hair is pulled back, wearing reading glasses with no book, drinking a Grey Goose martini...which means you had a hell of a week and a beer just wouldn't do it. If that wasn't clear enough, there's always the "fuck off" that you have stamped on your forehead.
- Shout-Out: Hitch during his college years looked a lot like Steve Urkel.
- Speed Dating: Hitch crashes one to speak to Sara — interrupting it with a giant argument, causing one woman to scream about how distracting this is, "AND I HAVEN'T GOTTEN LAID IN A YEAR!" Everyone goes silent at this.
- Take That!: Since the studio wouldn't cast a white actress as the female lead to avoid a racial taboo; Hitch lets it slip to Sara that his college roommate married his sister and they were expecting a baby. Near the beginning of the film Hitch is talking to an "old friend" in a bar (played by white actor Michael Rapaport) who is married and expecting a baby. It's subtle, but if one thinks about it, they realize that this character was the friend in question who was married to his sister.
- Took a Level in Badass: Hitch in his younger days is shown as a nerd who has trouble scoring and driving one of the few girlfriends he had away through rather clingy behavior. Fast-forward to the present day and well...
- Tragically Misguided Favor: A less tragic variation. Hitch decides to surprise Sara by taking her to Ellis Island, thinking it would be a nice gesture to show her the immigration records, showing her the signature of the ancestor (Juan Melas, Sara's great-great-grandfather) that brought her family lineage to America. Sara bursts into tears and storms off — it turns out that said ancestor was actually a notorious serial killer back in Spain (When Hitch was researching Sara's family lineage, he mistook the headline "Butcher of Cádiz" for his profession). Sara, however, DOES forgive Hitch, calling it "one of those horrible family legacies we've all tried to forget", and appreciates the gesture, albeit acknowledging that it was a disastrous one.
- Visual Pun: After the groin attack mentioned above Vance, in too much pain to really notice or maybe just care, he ran walked into and placed his head into the asshole of a giant bull statue. The pun:he's a giant load of bullshit.
- Where da White Women At?: According to Will Smith the female lead was intended to be played by a white actress (allegedly Sandra Bullock, whom Smith really wanted to work with), however the studio was afraid of invoking this trope. They also didn't want to cast two black leads, fearing they would alienate white audiences, so Mendes (a Latina) was cast to avert both.