Something About Mary was a tremendously successful flick
that gave rise to a whole new sub-genre. The "Let's watch
Ben Stiller humiliate himself" collection which includes
Mystery Men, Zoolander,
Meet the Parents, and last year's Duplex, has one
wondering if he's just given up on doing anything cool like
The Royal Tenenbaums ever again. With scenes of our
Mr. Stiller with his trousers around his ankles, and shots
of elderly blind ferrets bumping into walls, previews for
Along Came Polly promise another notch in that increasingly
irritating belt. Somehow the marketing guys at Jersey Films
seem to think this is what audiences want, and are pushing
the gross-out Stiller-fest aspect.
wrong wrong wrong!
grant you that Ben Stiller repeatedly makes an ass out of
himself. Ferrets do bump into walls, and there are some poop
jokes. However, just about all of the gross-out humor is in
the trailer, and the movie would be funny even without them.
We even get some witty dialog, and a fantastic supporting
cast that steals the show.
Stiller plays Reuben Feffer, a risk-management analyst for
an insurance firm headed by Alec Baldwin's Stan Indursky.
Reuben is cautious in every aspect of his life, and thinks
he's making a safe choice when he weds Lisa Kramer, a tightly
wound Debra Messing. On the first day of their honeymoon,
Reuben walks in on Lisa shagging a French scuba instructor
played by Hank Azaria.
Azaria looks damn good naked. Hank, call me!
Reuben drags himself back home, alone and broken, and wondering
what's wrong with his life. His best friend, Philip Seymour
Hoffman's aging childstar Sandy Lyle, convinces him to, and
subsequently ditches him at, a high-falutin' gallery party.
Enter Jennifer Aniston as
inept waitress/free spirit Polly Prince, a former middle-school
classmate of Reuben's. In an attempt to move on from Lisa
and start a new life, Reuben calls -- make that stalks --
Polly and eventually asks her out, only to discover that she's
flakey, commitment phobic, and totally opposite to calm, predictable
Along Came Polly a not-half-bad little movie are the
cute little sub-plots, and the obvious thought that has gone
into each character. Stiller and Aniston have some decent
chemistry, and though we're sometimes hit over the head with
character back-story, it all seems to fit together.
as usual, puts his all into the one-movie ex-brat packer Sandy,
and sorta channels Jack Black while still remaining likeable.
He's such an endearing asshole, I might be willing to sit
through a movie just about him. Hank Azaria's brief (hee hee)
appearances are full of gold, and Alec Baldwin exercises his
true calling as a supporting player. He's so much more fun
as a comic actor than a leading man and his turn as a gruff,
excessively hands-on insurance exec was so detailed and funny,
I almost forgave him for Cat
in The Hat
Another wonderful supporting
actor is Bryan Brown as Leland Van Lew, a daredevil CEO that
Reuben is evaluating for life insurance. Leland is even more
reckless than Polly, and he provides a hilarious contrast
to Reuben, forcing him to take risks. Some of the best laughs
come from Leland, and his outlandish behavior adds an element
of unreality without venturing into outright fantasy.
the movie tries too hard. There were moments when Stiller
was so mawkish and goofy that it took me out of the movie.
A dance scene in which Stiller shows off his new salsa moves
made me think I was in Zoolander again, and there are
some slow motion bits that didn't really need to be there.
the film tries really hard to be both a gross-out flick and
a heartfelt romantic comedy. Though the story moves along
reasonably well, the characters all have so much back story
either implied or explained, it seems like Along Came Polly
was merely a reason to throw these eccentric characters into
one place and see what happens.
entertainment, but see it as a matinee.