Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) is the “Date Doctor”. He helps men find–and create–the right opportunities to meet and hit it off with women they would otherwise be too shy or awkward to ask out. He does this quietly, though, without any publicity. All his business comes from referrals. So when the woman he himself falls in love with is a newspaper gossip columnist…it’s easy to see where this will eventually lead.

The first hour of the film is very sweet. Hitch helps a timid, clumsy accountant break the ice with a rich heiress he is madly in love with, and the two of them stumble towards romance. At the same time, Hitch and Sara (the columnist) go out on a couple of dates that, despite all of Hitch’s experience as a professional smoothie, turn out disastrously.

But the fatal misunderstanding that causes the reversal of fortune, despite being obvious, felt contrived in much the same way that How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days did. The resolution then drags on for almost another hour, which is far too long for a romantic comedy of this nature. It loses a lot of its initial charm by being wordy without saying much, and by trying to juggle too many balls at once. The parallel doctor and patient plots are fun, but the balance between them isn’t right.

Nevertheless, this is Will Smith at the top of his game again: smooth, funny, and with bags of easygoing charm. Eva Mendes and Kevin James provide quality support as Sara and the bumbling accountant. The chemistry between Smith and Mendes is good, but not electrifying. Overall, Hitch is entertaining enough, but it doesn’t rise to be anything better.