Rated 3.0

Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) is a professional “date doctor” who helps sincere but clueless men win the hearts of the women they love, but his expertise fails him when he finds himself falling for a gossip columnist (Eva Mendes). Written by first-timer Kevin Bisch and directed by Andy Tennant, the film is unruly and gawky, with the telltale signs of last-minute (and possibly desperate) tampering: plot points are introduced and not developed, well-known actors are reduced to cameo roles, prominent scenes in the preview trailer don’t appear in the finished film, etc. But, despite all that, the film is appealing, even insightful at times—that is, in its quieter moments, when it isn’t frantically huffing and puffing to be hilarious. It’s a triumph of star power (Smith and Mendes) over a spotty script.