Along Came Polly Review

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After his wife cheats on him on honeymoon, risk assessment analyst Reuben Feffer (Stiller) finds a new love in the shape of kooky old school friend Polly Prince (Aniston).


By now, Ben Stiller must have surely cornered the market in playing loveable but hapless nerds - a routine which he translated into box office gold in There's Something About Mary and Meet The Parents. And indeed, Along Came Polly, which comes to us from Parents writer Hamburg (he also scripted Zoolander) and sees Stiller in his element.

It's hard to imagine anyone else playing the hopelessly neurotic Reuben Feffer quite as well as he does. Yet in a way that's the film's downfall - at times it feels like a selection of ideas recycled from other, better movies and shaped into a coherent whole, while the paper-thin premise does little to lend any substance.

That's not to say it doesn't have its moments. Many of them come courtesy of an impressive supporting cast that includes Alec Baldwin as Stiller's delightfully smooth boss, Debra Messing as his less-than-devoted wife, and Hank Azaria almost unrecognisable as the scuba-diving Lothario who lures Messing into his houseboat by walking around naked for much of his screen time. But it's Philip Seymour Hoffman who almost steals the entire film as Sandy Lyle (the irony of which will not be lost on golf fans), an actor who had a brief brush with fame as the star of an '80s Brat Pack flick but is now reduced to doing community theatre.

Jennifer Aniston, meanwhile, proves herself once again to be a capable comedienne, here playing the kind of eccentric hippy chick - complete with tiny, exotic-looking flat, pet ferret and fondness for "ethnic" food - that only seems to exist in films like this. Most importantly, she's a more than adequate foil for Stiller as he works his way through a series of predictable but amusing set-pieces, involving blocked toilets, overheated curries and a running gag in which everybody in New York City gets wind of his wife's infidelities.

Hamburg, meanwhile, allows proceedings to zip along at a fair old pace. He keeps the running time sensibly short and the romantic schmaltz to a minimum, resulting in a film that's more edgy than some of its peers. However, it stops just short of its potential, resorting instead to sub-Farrelly brothers bodily function humour when the going gets tough.

It's not bad, but given all the talent involved, it would have been nice for Hamburg to push the envelope a bit further and deliver something with real bite. As it is, this is more of a pleasant, but forgettable, time-filler.

A perfectly respectable outing for Stiller and Aniston, and it won't do Hamburg's career any harm either. But don't expect to remember it in the morning.