Published Dec 01, 2003Stepping up as the unlikely leading man in several comedies now, Ben Stiller takes another crack at love as Reuben Feffer, a paranoid risk assessor for a large insurance firm. Everything seems to be rolling smoothly according to Reuben's pre-planned schedule in life, especially now that he's marrying the love of said life, Lisa (Debras Messing). The anticipation of long-lasting love is crushed though when Lisa sleeps with a well-hung scuba instructor (Hank Azaria) on their honeymoon. A defeated Reuben has no choice but to return to New York and face the humiliation of being dumped mere days after his wedding.
Hold on though, only after two weeks of losing his dream girl, Reuben is back in the saddle and ready to start seeing other women. While attending a trendy art exhibit with his friend Sandy, a washed-up former child actor played well by the multi-talented Philip Seymour Hoffman, the dreamy Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston) happens to walk into Reuben's life and the courtship begins. It's not as simple as that though, for Polly is the complete opposite of Reuben, as she lacks any sort of organisational skills, never pre-plans and certainly doesn't share her new boyfriend's views on daily risks. She's wild and he's uptight the comedy writes itself, as Hollywood squeezes another few drops out of the played-out odd couple routine.
The problem with Along Came Polly is that it's very much a paint-by-numbers romance, which isn't always a negative thing, but it is when there's no entertainment to distract you from the plot's predictability. The chemistry isn't very strong between Stiller and Aniston because it's hard to believe that these two opposites would put up with each other's faults. In the end, you don't really care if these two crazy kids make it work or not. Aniston and Stiller are both great comedic actors but they don't take off in this film, possibly because Polly's character is painted as being flaky and new age rather than complex and intelligent. Stiller reprises the same role he's played in his other romantic comedies, and he's too good of a comedic talent to constantly be reprising the wound-up individual that manages to land himself in sticky situations and misunderstandings.
There's a lot of talent surrounding Along Came Polly, including a great performance by Alec Baldwin as Reuben's arrogant boss but the script just isn't very good and you're left watching the same old recycled comedy but with different players and combinations. Throw in Polly's half-blind ferret and an overflowing toilet and you will be longing for a screenplay-driven romance. (Universal)