|Along Came Polly (2004)
Starring: Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin
Director: John Hamburg
“Along Came Polly” is the epitome of mediocre January films: a tedious comedy filled with toilet jokes that detract from the stars’ individual talents. With very little to offer in terms of comedy or plot, there isn’t much about “Along Came Polly” to look forward to except for a handful of humorous scenes and a solid saving performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is a top-notch risk analyst for a popular insurance agency. Unfortunately, his cautious career has transformed him into a complete stiff away from the office, calculating the chances for trouble in nearly every situation he’s faced with. After marrying Lisa (Debra Messing), the woman of his dreams, she cheats on him while on their honeymoon with a French scuba diving instructor (Hank Azaria).
Heartbroken by the event, Reuben heads back to New York for plenty of unnecessary encouragement from his unwonted boss (Alec Baldwin) and his best friend Sandy (Hoffman), a washed up Brat Pack actor attempting a comeback. While at an event with Sandy, Reuben runs into Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston), an old classmate from junior high who’s looking better than ever. Polly and Reuben begin to date despite a few awkward first steps, but eventually Reuben discovers that Polly’s carefree life of spicy food and salsa dancing may be too much for his risk-free existence.
To borrow a theme from “Polly,” most of Stiller’s recent films come shackled to a high amount of risk – he either delivers a memorable comedic performance or, as has more often been the case, the finished product is a forgettable movie that’s short on wit and originality. Both Stiller and Aniston are much too qualified for this film and shouldn’t even be wasting their talent on such a mess. Hoffman’s role, however, does manage to add a hint of comedy with particularly hilarious scenes on the basketball court and in the art gallery.
Regardless, Baldwin is left for the dead with his five-minute role as Reuben’s boss while Aussie actor Bryan Brown (attempting to make a comeback of his own) is refreshing, but seldom used. Lame jokes and a lack of imagination make “Along Came Polly” the perfect January film to miss. In fact, just go ahead and hibernate for the next month or so because it doesn’t look too promising down the road either.