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Along Came Polly (Widescreen Edition) (2004)

Comedy and Drama movie directed by John Hamburg

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Along Came Polly: Cute, Funny, and Unoriginal

  • Jan 18, 2004
  • by
Rating:
+1
Pros: Good cast chemistry, funny throughout, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Cons: Been done before, Ben Stiller is the same in all his flicks

The Bottom Line: An average movie with some comedy... Ben Stiller is the same in all of his movies. Everyone else is pretty good. Wait for DVD!

In the wake of so many failed romantic comedies, production companies seem to have shied away from this genre which once flourished at the box office. The trend appears to have curved towards films with awesome special effects (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix) and family movies (Elf, Finding Nemo) so that these companies can rake in the big bucks. Somewhere along the way, the once beloved genre of romantic comedy got lost.

Enter Along Came Polly. Amidst blockbuster movies such as Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and The Last Samurai, family movies such as Cheaper by the Dozen and Teacher’s Pet, and the leftover holiday successes such as Bad Santa and Elf, it’s no big surprise that Along Came Polly isn’t getting too much attention. The good news for theater-goers, however, is that you’ll probably get a good seat if you do decide to watch this flick.

The Plot
Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is a risk analyst who marries his long-term girlfriend, Lisa Kramer (Debra Messing). On the first day of their honeymoon in St. Bart’s, Reuben walks in on Lisa knocking flippers with her scuba instructor, Claude (Hank Azaria). Reuben, of course, leaves Lisa in St. Bart’s and returns to New York.

Reuben’s best friend Sandy Lyle (Philip Seymour Hoffman) talks Reuben into going to a party at an art gallery. At this party, Reuben runs into a girl he went to middle school with, Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston). Reuben decides that he is going to ask Polly out, even though she is completely against the type he usually goes for.

All this happens within the first 20 minutes of the film. For the remainder of the film, we watch Reuben’s and Polly’s "opposites attract" romance bloom into something a little more than the fling Polly intended and less than the commitment that Reuben intended. Of course, Lisa comes back and begs for Reuben’s forgiveness, leaving our hero to rationalize his decision based on who is the bigger risk.

Fortunately, thanks to John Hamburg (writer and director of Along Came Polly), it is a very funny film—although it does focus a bit too much on Stiller’s physical comedy. Unfortunately, the idea of "opposites attract" has been done over and over again, and it leaves a stale taste in the collective mouth of the audience. The plot is, in a word, predictable. Funny, but predictable.

The Characters
The best character by far is Sandy Lyle, former child actor, who is played expertly by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sandy’s ego and distorted view of his own life has the audience covering their faces and groaning with embarrassment. Hoffman adds just a kick more with his physical attributes and deadpan comedy.

Ben Stiller, of course, plays the starring role of Reuben Feffer. He’s good. If you’re a fan of Stiller, you’ll probably like this movie. Frankly, it’s just Ben Stiller being Ben Stiller. He seems to play the same character in all of his movies, from Meet the Parents to Zoolander. I wonder if he would be able to play an actual character, the way Hoffman and Azaria do…

Speaking of Hank Azaria, he is an absolute riot as the French scuba instructor Claude. If he hadn’t been on Leno the night before, I never would have recognized him. Azaria, known for his ability to play so many different characters, is nothing short of terrific in this role.

The common complaint about Jennifer Aniston is that she plays Rachel (her character on Friends) in every movie that she is in. That doesn’t hold true for Along Came Polly. Aniston breaks away from her stereotypical character and loses herself in the title role of Polly Prince. The salsa dancing scenes are wonderful, and her carefree portrayal of Polly is an excellent contrast to Ben Stiller.

Finally, Debra Messing as Lisa Kramer does indeed deserve a mention. She is a great actress, regardless of how big or small the role is. Lisa isn’t a very large role, but Messing handles it with professionalism and expertise. She doesn’t play the goofy Grace we see every Thursday on Will & Grace, which is also refreshing. The character of Lisa is a bit more subdued, and Messing portrays her very well.

Strangely enough, there is good chemistry between all of these actors. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to really make the "Wow! What a Great Movie!" impact on the audience.

The Sets
Along Came Polly takes place mainly in New York, with a couple of scenes in St. Bart’s. The different locations (Polly’s Apartment, Reuben’s apartment, various restaurants, an underground salsa club, Reuben’s office) are all very realistic and appropriate. The contrast between Polly’s and Reuben’s apartments is excellent, completely defining the personalities of each character.

There are few, if any at all, continuity flaws, especially when it comes to the sets. There is nothing worse than watching a restaurant scene where the levels of the wine glasses go up and down. Tim Fassino, the set dresser, obviously did an impeccable job. It’s a shame they don’t give out rewards for set dressing. (Hopefully, he’ll see his name mentioned in this review, and that will be enough for him.)

Miscellaneous
Alec Baldwin plays Reuben’s boss, Stan Indursky. He’s just not good, which is why he appears in the "Miscellaneous" section rather than "The Characters" section of this review. Baldwin tries a bit too hard to be funny. Hey, Alec, I’ve got some advice for you: Leave the funny to the funny people.

The movie is short and it is, as stated earlier in this review, funny. You will especially enjoy it if you enjoy Ben Stiller’s movies. The casting could have been better – maybe. I’m not sure if I should blame the comedy on the actor or on the writer/director. Jim Carrey may have been a little better, but his physical antics would probably have gotten old, just like Stiller’s did.

The soundtrack isn’t anything spectacular. Honestly, it didn’t even leave any sort of impression. Who knows if an Along Came Polly soundtrack will be released? I suppose it has to do with how well the movie fares at the box office. If that is the case, don’t expect to see the Along Came Polly soundtrack anytime soon. If you do, however, save yourself $16.99 and pass on it.

In Conclusion
Along Came Polly is a cute movie, but it’s average. It’s funny, but it has been done before. There is absolutely nothing spectacular about this flick, and no reason you should rush to the theater and see it right away. Feel free to wait until it comes out on DVD. Even then, don’t bother getting on the waiting list for it at Blockbuster.

However, if you’re looking for a good date movie, Along Came Polly will most likely fit the bill for you—Especially if you’re in the early stages of a relationship. The humor will satisfy both men and women, and leave you chuckling together in the car ride home.


Recommended:
No

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More Along Came Polly reviews
review by . April 29, 2009
This movie is pretty typical of the types of movies I have seen Ben Stiller in. If you liked Duplex or Meet the Parents, than this is the movie for you. If not you will probably not like this movie.     Stiller plays a risk manager for an insurance firm. At the beginning of the film he has a big wedding and goes off on his honeymoon. On the first day, he and his wife are invited by a nude instructor to go scuba diving. Stiller afraid to take any type of risk, tells his wife(who …
review by . June 13, 2005
This movie is pretty typical of the types of movies I have seen Ben Stiller in. If you liked Duplex or Meet the Parents, than this is the movie for you. If not you will probably not like this movie.    Stiller plays a risk manager for an insurance firm. At the beginning of the film he has a big wedding and goes off on his honeymoon. On the first day, he and his wife are invited by a nude instructor to go scuba diving. Stiller afraid to take any type of risk, tells his wife(who …
review by . June 27, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Frankly this is a pretty silly movie and Ben Stiller has definitely made better, like Meet the Parents. Along Came Polly is a lighthearted romantic comedy, but more in the slapstick fashion that Stiller is known for, than say, the slightly more serious romantic comedy's of Hugh Grant. The movie revolves around the throwing together of an unlikely couple in Stiller's character - a nerdy risk assessment analyst for an insurance company who is very risk adverse, and Polly Prince, played by Jennifer …
review by . January 18, 2004
Pros: Good cast chemistry, funny throughout, Philip Seymour Hoffman     Cons: Been done before, Ben Stiller is the same in all his flicks     The Bottom Line: An average movie with some comedy... Ben Stiller is the same in all of his movies. Everyone else is pretty good. Wait for DVD!     In the wake of so many failed romantic comedies, production companies seem to have shied away from this genre which once flourished at the box office. …
review by . January 15, 2004
Pros: Good Laughs and Stiller.     Cons: Is Predictable.     The Bottom Line: A funny, and entertaining film that will make you smile.     On what should be the happiest day of his life Rueben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is unaware of the change his life is about to take. On the first day of his Honeymoon in St.Barts, Rueben’s world comes crashing down around him when he finds his wide Lisa (Debra Messing), in the throws of passion with a …
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Candice Cain ()
Ranked #344
I own the Candy Cain Travel Co. in Brookhaven, NY. I am a certified Professional Bridal Consultant with the Association of Bridal Consultants and my agency is certified by IATA and CLIA. I specialize … more
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Wiki

Opposites are forced to attract inAlong Came Polly, a dose of featherweight fluff that could've been better and could've been worse--surely no pairing of Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston can be a complete waste of time, right? Faint praise indeed, but fans of these mainstream funny-folk will enjoy this movie as a lazy-weekend distraction. Ben's a newlywed insurance risk-assessment analyst whose wife (Debra Messing, in a throwaway role) betrays him on their honeymoon. His uptight, play-it-safe lifestyle (which includes acute aversion to germs and irritable bowel syndrome) makes him seemingly incompatible with the spontaneous, free-spirited Polly (Aniston), but writer-director John Hamburg (whose writing credits include the previous Stiller hitsMeet the ParentsandZoolander) is determined to give them at least theappearanceof romantic potential. No such luck. You will, however, get a few laughs from supporting players Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bryan Brown, and Alec Baldwin.--Jeff Shannon
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Details

Director: John Hamburg
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: January 16, 2004
Screen Writer: John Hamburg
DVD Release Date: June 8, 2004
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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