Along Came Polly (8/10)
2004 by Tony Medley
Along Came Polly suffers
from one of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen, which makes the film
look imbecilic. But it’s not. Except for a few unfortunate scenes (one
of which is in the trailer), it’s a funny, engaging, romantic comedy.
For one thing it’s got Jennifer Anniston. If you asked me to name the
three best actresses in Hollywood, she’d be one.
Reuben Feffer (Ben
Stiller) is a risk assessor whose life is based on minimizing risk.
After four years of courtship he marries the woman of his dreams, Lisa
Kramer (Debra Messing). On the first night of their honeymoon he catches
her cheating on him and goes home devastated. He meets Polly Prince
(Anniston), an old middle school classmate, a free spirit who is his
direct opposite, and they begin a courtship, much to the dismay of
Reuben’s best friend, fledgling actor Sandy Lyle (Philip Seymour
Hoffman), who offers constant advice.
for a few scenes, writer-director John Hamburg (Zoolander and
Meet the Parents), has given us a wonderful picture. One scene takes
place on an outdoor basketball court where Reuben has his opponent’s
sweaty body rub all over his face. I played pickup basketball for years,
and nothing like this ever came close to occurring…only in the movies.
The other scenes are in bathrooms. I doubt if I’m alone in not liking
to see men urinating, even if it is from behind, and defecating. Hamburg
seems addicted to scatological scenes, but he should grow up. These
scenes have no raison d’etre, and detract from a very good
movie. Hamburg is too talented to try to rely on the shock value of
The only other part
of this movie that I felt was below par was the role played by Alec
Baldwin as Reuben’s boss, Stan Indursky. Baldwin, who is usually
professional, apparently is reprising his role in The Cooler as a
“dees, dem, and does” kind of basically illiterate thug boss. It’s
a caricature, not funny, and demeans Baldwin’s talent.
Don’t be put off
by the fact that most of this review is critical; that’s my job. With
those exceptions, I enjoyed Along Came Polly throughout. It’s
funny and entertaining.
January 14, 2004