I’m here to admit that I was wrong. Last year, I asked the crucial question: Is the new Aladdin secretly the Hitch sequel we’ve been waiting for? And now after having seen the film, the answer is no…because the new Aladdin is not-so secretly a remake of the 2005 rom-com classic Hitch!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking, because every day my co-workers tell me, “Derek, stop talking about Hitch so much.” And to that I say both, you can never talk too much about Hitch, and I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.
This theory started last April when Disney executive Cathleen Taff described Will Smith’s Genie as a “little Fresh Prince, little Hitch, and a whole lot of attitude.” And being who I am, that immediately got me thinking about the parallels between Smith’s new movie and his turn as legendary date doctor Alex Hitchens, a.k.a. the second-greatest performance of his career.
Think about it, both of these characters go about their job in a very discrete manner, because they can’t let the entire world know of their talents and abilities or they’d constantly be hounded for help. But, when we do see them use their powers, it’s to help a regular Joe who isn’t exactly killing it with ladies score a woman perceived to be way out of their league. For Aladdin (Mena Massoud), it’s Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). And for Kevin James’ Albert Brennaman, it’s Allegra Cole (Amber Valletta), a New York heiress, which is basically the 2005 version of a princess.
To be fair, all of that is just circumstantial evidence that I came up with a year before Guy Ritchie’s live-action remake came out. But, with the release of this delightful film, I now have so much more to back up my theory that there hasn’t been a more open and shut case since I asked who wore blue better: Smith or Arrested Development‘s Tobias Fünke.
Warning: don’t continue unless you have seen the new Aladdin. Although, honestly, these are pretty light spoilers and there’s already another Aladdin out there. So read on for my very detailed reasoning of how Smith’s Aladdin is almost a shot-for-shot remake of Smith’s Hitch.
Big Willie Style: Returning to IP
Okay, this isn’t specific to what happens in Aladdin, but just wanted to remind everyone that Big Willie loves returning to his previous worlds, whether it be with two Men in Black sequels, two Bad Boys sequels, or the previously announced Bright sequel. (But when do we get Wild Wild West 2 with Keanu Reeves?)
It’s hard to pick just one scene from the cinematic masterpiece known as Hitch, but the most memorable moment is probably Hitch teaching Albert how to dance before his date with Allegra. Director Andy Tennant recently told EW that scene was Smith’s brainchild. “I remember Will and I going to Amy Pascal, who was a Sony executive, and pitching new ideas and one of those was Will just showing Amy how funny that scene could be,” recalls Tennant. “Will had ‘making the pizza’ and all of these goofy moves, so we knew just then that it was going to be great.” Well, Will must keep pitching dances because after a disastrous first impression, Aladdin manages to impress Jasmine by busting a move, which is courtesy of him being controlled by the nearby Genie. The lesson: If you want to get a girl out of your league, let Will Smith teach you how to dance.
In Need of His Own Hitch/Genie
When it comes to hooking others up with beautiful ladies, there’s no one better than Hitch. And yet, when he meets the woman of his dreams in Sara (Eva Mendes), he could use his own Hitch, as he’s often kicking her in the face, coming down with an allergic reaction, or reminding her of her serial killer ancestor. The same goes for the Genie, who is a great wingman for Aladdin, but then gets flustered when he tries to woo Jasmine’s handmaiden Dalia (Nasim Pedrad). Wait, great idea alert: what if Aladdin and Hitch became each other’s wingman? We could have a Gemini Man situation — but better.
And what do Aladdin and Genie have in common when they’re flustered? As their love interests are on the other side of a door, they both talk to themselves, frustratingly explaining to himself that they’re blowing this.
The Scene That Closed the Case
Okay, here we go, the moment that sealed the deal and caused me to yell out loud in the theater, “This is Hitch!” Aladdin ends with Aladdin and Jasmine getting married, followed by the final scene of the characters all dancing at the wedding in a Soul Train-like line. And how does Hitch end? LITERALLY THE SAME EXACT WAY. Albert and Allegra get married, followed by the final scene of the characters all dancing at the wedding in a Soul Train-like line. Honestly, I was nervous when Guy Ritchie was announced as the director of Aladdin, but I can now see that there was no better person for the job. Well, maybe me since I would have added a speed dating scene.
There it is, case closed. And as a reward for laying out all of this crucial information, I ask for only one wish: to expand the Hitch Cinematic Universe with a proper sequel (I’ve got plenty of ideas, Will!).
Aladdin is now in theaters.