Hitch (2005), for better or worse
By Rachel Arellano
Hitch is a film released in 2005 starring Will Smith, Eva Mendes, and Kevin James. The movie follows the love lives of two very different characters in modern day New York City. Unlike most chick-flicks out there, Hitch follows relationships from the male perspective. The story focuses on a man named Alex Hitchens (played by Will Smith); smooth, handsome, successful professional dating coach. Hitch is all about helping single men make the connection with the women of their dreams. Albert Brennaman (a secondary character played by Kevin James) comes to Hitch for advice and help getting heiress Allegra Cole to like him. Albert is the complete opposite of Hitch; he’s awkward, insecure, and not physically attractive. While Hitch is helping Albert win Allegra he happens to meet the stunning yet jaded gossip columnist Sara Melas (Eva Mendes). As Hitch coaches Albert in his efforts with Allegra Hitch continues to strike out with Sara. As the film approaches climax we see Sara uncovering the fact that the man she is falling for (Hitch) is the “Date Doctor”. A character she had believed to be an urban legend and who she blames for the heart break of her good friend. All hell breaks loose for Hitch when Sara writes an article besmirching Hitch’s good name. At the end of the day (in the tradition of all chick-flicks) all miss understandings are cleared up. Albert gets Allegra, Sara forgives Hitch, her heart magically softens and they too end up together.
I really like this film as an artifact because it does some to help bolster the importance of nonverbal communication. I also think there are some good examples of things we learned throughout the course. However after reading the text book and leaning more about nonverbal communication I also have a problem with some of the information provided in the film I think it helps perpetuate the biggest misconceptions about nonverbal communication. I will discuss the “ugly” portion of the artifact first then progress into some positive examples of this piece.
“Sixty percent is nonverbal- body language, thirty percent is tone, how you say it. That means that ninety percent of what you’re saying isn’t coming out of your mouth.” (Hitch 2005) We know from Burgoon (2011) that these percentages are not accurate. In addition to inaccurate numbers we also find some problems with the language and phrasing used in the opening of the film. “Sixty percent is nonverbal- body language” would imply that “thirty percent is tone” is not also nonverbal communication. We learned this semester that tone along with body language (kinetics) are both specific types of nonverbal communication. These two points are my main issues with Hitch. I wish they had bothered to use some science when writing the script.
I like this artifact because it has such a diverse selection of nonverbal communication to choose from. In addition to the diversity the film also does a good job drawing attention to these patterns. There were two nonverbal patterns that I wanted to point out from the film. The first is a great example of deception for the sake of the relationship as we learned about in chapter 15. Then I talk a bit about artifacts, and clothing.
Hitch: “Now isn’t a good time for me,..I need space,…I really into my career right now….She’s lying to you” I think this is a great example of the way we lie to save face for both parties. In chapter 15 reasons we lie are addressed, one reason we lie is to preserve the relationship. “She doesn’t want to hurt your feelings” Hitch does a very nice job highlighting this aspect of deceit.
During a scene at the beginning of the film Hitch points out elements of Sara’s appearance that she is using to attempt to dissuade any attraction from other bar goers. “No earrings, heels under 2 inches, hair back, reading glasses but no book, and the Fuck of you have stamped across your forehead” (Hitch 2005). Hitch verbally expresses for viewers what Sara is saying with her nonverbals.
I think this movie is a good way to demonstrate some of the more basic concepts of nonverbal communication.