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Along Came Polly

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Along Came Polly

Starring: Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston
Director: John Hamburg
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: January 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Debra Messing, Christine Barger, Alec Baldwin, Hank Azaria, James DuMont, Nathan Dean, Bob Dishy

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

If there were ever any doubts about the bankability of Jennifer Aniston, whose "Friends" TV series is winding to a close after ten seasons, the opening weekend numbers on this dud of a comedy indicate how her 'girl-next-door' popularity can beckon patrons to the box-office.

Ben Stiller stars as Reuben Feffer, a phobia-ridden risk assessor for an insurance company. When his bride (Debra Messing of TV's "Will & Grace") jilts him for a buff French scuba-diving instructor (Hank Azaria) on their honeymoon in St. Barts, he returns to New York to moan and mope. Trying to cheer him up, his ex-movie-star buddy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) persuades him to attend an art exhibit opening, where he meets spontaneous, free-spirited Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston), who's works part-time on a catering crew. Actually, they knew each other back in the seventh grade. So could romance bloom between these awkward opposites?

Writer/director John Hamburg - with screenplay credits for "Meet the Parents" and "Zoolander" - obviously specializes in "embarrassing situational" comedy. Only this time, he has assembled what amounts to a tiresome gag reel - and, while it's crude, it's not convincing. Except for Rudolpho, Polly's nearly blind ferret. Otherwise, Hamburg ineptly flounders into Farrelly fun-flick "American Pie" territory. Playing a nerdy neurotic who is humiliated by bathroom humor is nothing new for Ben Stiller; it's his specialty. As for Jennifer Aniston, her comic timing is impeccable. With Bryan Brown and Alec Baldwin lending support, it's just a shame they have nothing fresh and funny to work with. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Along Came Polly" is flimsy, formulaic 5. It's amiable if not ambitious. But the draw here is Jennifer Aniston.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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