Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's audio commentary; Deleted
scenes; Out-takes; Making of; Original opening; Rodolfo Goes To
Hollywood; Regions 2/4.
BEN Stiller has proven himself quite adept at playing the romantic
misfit, a socially inept, but likeable loser, who usually gets
the girl, despite no end of self-humiliation in the process.
Think about his most obvious turn, in Theres Something
About Mary (and that zipper incident!), or, to a lesser degree,
his rabbis attempts to court in Keeping The Faith, or even
his inept attempt to win over a father, in Meet
All find Stiller at his most accident-prone and vulnerable, so
it is little wonder to find that Along Came Polly, which charts
similar territory, is just as enjoyable, even if the formula is
beginning to wear a little thin.
Stiller stars as risk assessment consultant, Reuben Feffer, who,
having made a life for himself by forward planning, suddenly finds
his world shattered when he catches his bride (Will & Graces
Debra Messing) shagging a tour guide (Hank Azaria) on the first
day of their honeymoon.
Enter Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston), a former high school colleague
turned care-free waitress, who offers him the possibility of getting
his life back on track, if he can start to take some risks.
Hence, Feffers orderly lifestyle gets turned on its head,
as he is forced to think again about love, life and living each
day as it comes.
And while the ensuing comedy of errors treads a well-worn path
towards its predictable conclusion, it is considerably buoyed
by a strong support cast, and some laugh-out-loud moments of hilarity.
The support players, in particular, help to make proceedings
a lot more enjoyable than they really ought to be, with compulsive
scene-stealer, Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Stillers arrogant
slob of a best friend, presenting a genuinely crowd-pleasing accomplice,
and Alec Baldwin, neatly cast as a politically incorrect Jewish
boss, seldom failing to raise a chuckle, while displaying some
surprisingly accomplished comic timing.
Bryan Brown also crops up as a daredevil entrepreneur, who helps
to put Feffers judgement to the test, while Messing and
Azaria do well, despite some fairly flimsy material.
Writer-director, John Hamburg, also builds on the good work he
has done with Stiller on Meet The Parents, while the gags, if
largely playing towards the gross-out crowd, are funny enough
not to appear too crass.
This is, at the end of the day, a comedy with a big heart, which
delivers some characters that are worth rooting for, despite a
torrent of farts, sweat, irritable bowels and sight-impaired house
The film is also notable for marking another big screen outing
for Aniston, who continues to move away from her Friends
persona as another kooky girlfriend.
Having been paired with Jim Carrey, in Bruce
Almighty, she now finds herself with Stiller as a romantic
other half, and builds some decent chemistry in what
is, really, a thankless role.
Comic highlights include an especially painful first-date
dinner sequence, and a rather disgusting game of basketball,
in which Hoffman yet again shines (just wait to you get a load
of his shvarts explanation), all of which evoke memories
of some of the more exaggerated Farrelly Brothers excesses.
This is, quite simply, harmless fun, which is an ideal way to
unwind at the end of a stressful day. It may carry the whiff of
a stale burp, rather than a breath of fresh air, but its
a guilty pleasure, nonetheless.