Gaiam // 2012 // 120 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // March 5th, 2013
"This marriage is going to take some work."
Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen and clichéd as all get out, so finding one with an unusual premise is worth checking out. That's what The Seven Year Hitch delivers.
Jennifer (Natalie Hall, Pretty Little Liars) and Kevin (Darin Brooks, Blue Mountain State) have been best friends forever, so it's no big deal when she offers him a place to crash after college graduation. Fast forward seven years and the twist comes into play. Jennifer's dating two-timing douche Bryce (Ryan Doom, Raising Hope) who's all sorts of wrong for her, but of course she can't see it. He proposes after only six months because he needs the marriage to secure a promotion. So it's up to Kevin (still her roommate) to convince Jennifer she's rushing into marriage with a guy she doesn't know and won't be happy with. Kevin's helped by the fact that, due to their long history of living together they're technically common law married. So that's the The Seven Year Hitch angle.
The story is briskly paced and helped along by engaging performances, none more so than Brooks', who brings a Ryan Reynolds-esque affability and quiet goofiness to the role. And yes The Seven Year Hitch will draw some comparisons to Reynolds' The Proposal but it is different enough to stand alone.
The Seven Year Hitch hits most of the beats you'd expect while managing to avoid a couple of the clichés you think are coming. The only real issue I had? There was more of a negative emphasis than I expected. There are many scenes showcasing what a jerk Bryce is paired with an unusual angle which yes, moves the story along, yet feels a bit mean-spirited. Jennifer's friends think Kevin is an adorable loser and a quitter, and that Jennifer is weird for allowing him to live with her for so long when all he does is run the household and hold down a part-time job. A good chunk of the story wouldn't happen unless Jennifer finally caved to the pressure to prove Kevin is a quitter and that really, kicking him out of the house is an act of tough love. The beats that follow end up allowing Kevin to shine but they also cast some doubt on Jennifer, giving her an insecure edge that takes almost the whole movie to move past.
While The Seven Year Hitch is a little less fluffy than you might expect, it's charming nonetheless. The unique aspect of the common law marriage adds a subtle twist to the romcom formula and allows the film to stand as a rewatchable example of the genre.
The standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image is typical of made-for-TV movies currently broadcasting on cable, and though the palette is a little flat it's nonetheless crisp and clean. Audio is a bit better boasting a full Dolby 5.1 Surround mix which is above what the film needs but is welcomed, especially during the karaoke scene.
No special features here but don't let that dissuade you. I am always looking for a good romcom and I recommend The Seven Year Hitch for those who want an example of the genre that plays a little bit with the formula but not too much.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated