Along Came Polly

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Ben Stiller as Reuben Feffer
Jennifer Aniston as Polly Prince
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Sandy Lyle
Debra Messing as Lisa Kramer
Alec Baldwin as Stan Indursky
Hank Azaria as Claude
Bryan Brown as Leland Van Lew
Jsu Garcia as Javier
Michele Lee as Vivian Feffer
Bob Dishy as Irving Feffer
Missi Pyle as Roxanne
Judah Friedlander as Dustin
Kevin Hart as Vic
Masi Oka as Wonsuk

Special Features:
Commentary by director John Hamburg

Theatrical trailer(s)

Alternate Opening

Rodolfo Goes Hollywood – ferret featurette

Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary by Director John Hamburg

Outtakes

Making of “Along Came Polly”

Other Info:
Full Frame (1.33:1)
Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
DTS 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Synopsis:
After discovering his wife cheating on him on their honeymoon, Reuben Feffer returns to New York depressed and lonely. For a guy who obsessively analyzes risks and plots out every detail of his life, this turns his world upside down. To get his mind off of his problems, Reuben’s friend Sandy Lyle tries to cheer him up. (Sandy is a former child star who has an E! True Hollywood Story camera crew following him around.)

When Sandy takes him to a party, he runs into Polly Prince, an old acquaintance from junior high school. Polly is flighty, disorganized, and a free spirit. She’s the total opposite of Reuben. However, he decides to try something new and asks Polly out on a date. Polly slowly draws Reuben out of his comfort zone and into her world. Despite being occasionally embarrassed, uncomfortable, and downright sick, Reuben finds himself falling in love with Polly. But can the two have any sort of future together?

Along Came Polly is rated PG-13 for sexual content, language, crude humor and some drug references.

The Movie:
I missed Along Came Polly in theaters, but I did want to see it. I liked writer / director John Hamburg and Ben Stiller’s work on Zoolander and Meet The Parents, so it was a film I was eager to see. After seeing it on DVD, I did enjoy it. It was by no means perfect, but it had more highlights than lowlights. It’s kind of “Something About Mary” –lite. You again have Ben Stiller’s character attracted to a sweet girl. You again have him tortured in the name of love. You again have twisted humor and a bizarre cast of supporting characters. The main difference is that it isn’t quite as disgusted or mean spirited as “Mary”.

Ben Stiller is generally in top form when he plays the everyman who goes through hell, and that’s what he plays here. In fact, his character here isn’t that much different than his characters in other films (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I suppose). The main twist is that his character is a risk analyst who obsessively worries about hazards, germs, etc. It makes him a little more neurotic and a bit more fun. And what’s funny is that all the statistics he points out about getting hit by a car, germs in bar nuts, and falling through subway grating are probably true and legitimate concerns, but we all tend to ignore them anyway. It’s like his being worried about something makes him more prone to be afflicted by it.

As for Jennifer Aniston, she’s pretty good as Polly. She’s cute, appropriately scatter brained, and good at inadvertently putting Reuben in awkward situations. However, she doesn’t really do anything noteworthy in the film and I think her role could have been played by a lot of different actresses. The supporting characters are a lot more memorable. Philip Seymour Hoffman seems to be channeling Jack Black in his role as Sandy Lyle. I knew Hoffman could do drama, but this is the first time I really remember him in this kind of comedy role. He’s a complete spaz and physical comedy is a large part of his performance. The fact that he’s a washed up child star is a funny touch. And the fact that he’s in a Hell’s Kitchen Community Theater performance of Jesus Christ Superstar makes him all the more pathetic and amusing. Hank Azaria also has a fun cameo as Claude, the French scuba diving instructor that steals Reuben’s wife. The accent, the outfit (or lack thereof), and the strange stories make him an amusing addition to the cast. Debra Messing and Alec Baldwin also have brief but fun roles.

One of the funny things about Along Came Polly is the fact that it makes light of awkward moments that we’ve all been in. There’s a long, awkward dialogue between Reuben and his boss while they are in the bathroom. His boss chooses to pee right next to him, touch him without washing his hands, etc. I think many guys have been stuck in the same situation. The same goes for when Reuben has to use the bathroom in Polly’s apartment and there’s no toilet tissue. Potty jokes are one of the lowest forms of comedy, but this is again something a lot of people have had to brave. Then there’s the awkward restaurant scene, meeting the parents scene, etc. John Hamburg captured all of this well.

As already mentioned, Along Came Polly starts out fun with a lot of unique situations and big laughs. It tends to fizzle towards the end and becomes formulaic, but overall it’s a fun movie worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. I think there are laughs here for everyone.

The Extras:
There are a fair number of extras included on the DVD. Here are the highlights:

Commentary by director John Hamburg – The commentary by Hamburg is okay considering it doesn’t feature Stiller, Aniston, or any of the other stars. He talks a lot about scenes that were changed around, stories from the set, characterizations, and more.

Alternate Opening – In this alternate opening, we see Reuben at work in his office before his wedding. You get a little more of a taste of what he does for a living. You also meet more of his coworkers who are seen later in the film. I think the final version was fine as it is because this didn’t add any more insight into Reuben than was already there.

Rodolfo Goes Hollywood – This video highlights the ferret from the film and it shows him appearing at the premiere of the movie. Unless you’re a ferret-phile, this feature is quite annoying. It’s sappy, annoyingly cute, and a waste of DVD extra space.

Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary by Director John Hamburg – There are a handful of scenes that were cut from the film. A fair number of them were from the wedding scene at the beginning of the movie. You see Reuben and Lisa doing a really awkward dance number, Lisa doing an extremely surreal rap routine, and Sandy Lyle doing a bagpipe rendition of an Air Supply tune. There is also an alternate version of the elevator scene where Sandy Lyle does more crude dialogue. Other than that the remaining deleted scenes weren’t terribly noteworthy.

Outtakes – This is your typical gag reel. One funny sequence features Ben Stiller repeatedly cracking up at Hank Azaria’s French accent. Other actors get the case of the giggles as well.

Making of “Along Came Polly” – This is your standard “making of” video featuring interviews with the cast and crew. There’s footage of most of the actors as well as behind the scenes shots.

The Bottom Line:
If you missed Along Came Polly in theaters, I think you’ll want to at least rent this one and check it out. Fans of Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston should also be pleased.

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