Starring: Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed by: John Hamburg
Risk analyst Reuben Feffer thinks he has life sussed out. Working a solid job, becoming a newly wed and purchasing a new home he thinks life is great and going how he always imagined it would. After stumbling upon his wife cheating on him with a scuba instructor while on their honeymoon his world gets tipped upside down. Returning home to figure out what to do next he bumps into an old school friend Polly who he begins dating until he must decide to either forgive his wife and give marriage a second chance or date commitment-fearing Polly and hope it goes somewhere.
The early to mid 2000’s was a time where Ben Stiller was in his element and producing some great movies including; Meet the Parents, Zoolander, Dodgeball & The Royal Tenenbaums. In the middle of it came romantic comedy Along Came Polly which at the time I avoided because what 15 year old boy wanted to watch a chick-flick? Fast forward 14 years and the teenage insecurity in me no longer exists and I will pretty much give any movie a chance without caring what people think.
Along Came Polly is as self explanatory as it gets. Reuben Feffer is living the good life holding a steady job as a risk analyst for an insurance firm and has just gotten himself married to the beautiful Lisa (Debra Messing). On their honeymoon Reuben walks in on his wife cheating on him with scuba instructor Claude (Hank Azaria) and after leaving the island getaway early he begins to feel depleted and unsure what his next step is. With a supporting group of friends and colleagues he gets taken out to try and meet some new people just to keep his mind off of it all where he bumps into Polly, an old middle school classmate and he immediately takes an interest. After taking a few risks, which is something Reuben doesn’t do very often, he begins to fall for Polly until Lisa makes a surprise appearance back at his apartment and she wants to fix their marriage and give it a second go. Reuben is then torn between the safety net of marriage or the risk of getting more involved with Polly who suffers from commitment issues.
The comedy in the movie is decent for a chick-flick but with Ben Stiller leading the way I expected nothing less. Philip Seymour Hoffman produces a fine display of comedy acting, which isn’t something he’s known for but he shows his versatility here as he plays Reubens best friend Sandy Lyle, an actor who was a child star in his day but hasn’t been able to let go of the past and move on from his glory days. The addition of Hank Azaria and Alec Baldwin really added to the quality of comedy and Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston worked really well together.
The main downside to Along Came Polly was the story itself. It was largely generic and run of the mill stuff with no real surprises or anything out of the ordinary for the type of film it was. Everything that happened from Reuben finding out his wife was cheating on him to the conclusion of the movie was as predictable as it gets. One scene which I really didn’t like was when Polly stumbled upon Reubens risk comparison between herself and wife Lisa. It was incredibly cringey to watch Jennifer Aniston pretty much recreate her scene from Friends some 7/8 years prior when Rachel finds the pros and cons list that Ross created.
In conclusion, Along Came Polly is a fairly decent comedy movie which is full of great characters although the story is extremely generic and can quite easily be compared to any number of romantic comedies.