Film review: Along Came Polly (2004), directed by John Hamburg
Along Came Polly begins with a wedding – Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is marrying the love of his life, Grace Adler Lisa Kramer (Debra Messing). They go on a honeymoon to St. Barts, and meet a handsome, French scuba-diving instructor (Hank Azaria – long hair, Speedos … say no more!). Reuben works in risk assessment for an insurance company for a living, so he likes to live his life in the safest way possible, and besides, he gets seasick easily. Lisa goes by herself, and has a go at scuba diving, and … handsome instructors.
Heartbroken, Reuben cuts the honeymoon short and goes back home. By chance, when his vulgar, obnoxious pal (Philip Seymour Hoffman) brings him to an art exhibition, he meets a woman he used to go to middle school with – Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston), and they start dating.
The thing about Polly is that she’s a carefree commitment phobic who doesn’t mind eating with her hands at Moroccan restaurants, or mixed nuts from a bowl at the bar. And, of course, Reuben hates spicy food and likes everything about his life to be safe and predictable. Can the two find a life together or is their relationship doomed from the start? And when Lisa comes back from St. Barts and wants her husband to take her back, what do you do?
(You know what this movie reminds me of? Dharma and Greg.)
Ben Stiller gives consistently good performances in comedies, and Jennifer Aniston was great too. I really didn’t see her as “Rachel from Friends“, she was just “Polly”. The funniest character of all, though, has got to be the one played by Bryan Brown. The man is already considered a comic genius in his native Down Under, and I can’t help but see why. He plays a daredevil businessman trying to get insured by Reuben’s company, but he’s so into extreme sports that he’s technically uninsurable. He really made me giggle. Philip Seymour Hoffman is great as the friend who is known for having played a character in a successful film as a kid and then nothing else, but who still tries to convince himself and everyone else that he’s a great actor. Seymour Hoffman actually is a great actor, so it’s fun to see him play such a crazy character. Oh yes, and I was reminded that if I make one of those “weird crush” lists, he’s going on it!
It’s a funny film with a few giggles, with some hot salsa dancing and Hank Azaria’s sixpack. Not hysterically funny, but a romantic comedy that works, even if the ending reminds me of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Ratings-wise? Pretty average.
Maybe 3½ out of 5.