December 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Posted in 2012 | Leave a comment
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“Hitch,” as he is called throughout this film, is embodied with a lively sort of impishness by Anthony Hopkins that belies his rather immense girth.  Credit is fully deserved for the rather convincing fat suit he wore and for the way Hopkins managed to so thoroughly erase any signs of Hannibal Lecter, despite the shared Ed Gein connection between these two films.  Hopkins got all the melodrama right– the emphatic cadence when he talked, the gestures– while not quite capturing the facial expressions.  There was a sort of sad sack, hound-doggedness to Hitchcock’s expressions that was replaced (by both Hopkins and latex) with a somewhat distracting bug-eyed stare.  All of that said, the rest of the cast manages admirably enough  in Hitch’s shadow.  Scarlett Johansson is an amiable if forgettable Janet Leigh.  Toni Collette (“Muriel’s Wedding,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Little Miss Sunshine”) is wasted as Hitch’s patient and one-dimensional secretary.   Jessica Biel (tv’s “7th Heaven,” “Total Recall”) looks good as Vera Miles, but I can hardly say much else about her.  A couple of cameos are so brief they raise eyebrows as to their intentions; seeing Wallace Langham (tv’s “CSI”) briefly in the background of one scene or having Ralph Macchio (yes, that one) on screen for 3 minutes as a writer served only to pull the audience out of the story.  Even the brilliant Helen Mirren (“The Queen”) can’t climb out from underneath Hopkins’s rather weighty shadow, though not for want of trying.  None of these actors are to blame for a script that diminishes all of them to serving the caricature that is Hitch.  The film was at its best when it was at its funniest; the script sometimes got Hitchcock’s morbid and dry humor just right.  I found this most evident during the filming of “Psycho.”  During those scenes, I thought “Hitchcock” was most alive.  When it strayed into his relationship with his wife, it felt like so many cliche’s I’ve seen: the genius but insecure husband, the long suffering and almost saintly wife, he takes her for granted, he suspects her of an affair while looking at every blonde who comes along, blah, blah, blah.  At those times, the movie was, as Hitchcock feared of “Psycho,” stillborn.


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