Over the last decade, Ben Stiller has established himself as one of comedy’s elite stars. From the cult hit The Ben Stiller Show on MTV, to movies with a timeless sense of humor like Meet The Parents, he has always managed to find his audience and supply them with the best laughs money can buy. With Along Came Polly, his latest flick, Stiller does not live up to his billing as one of America’s best comedic actors.
Stiller plays Reuben Feffer, a risk analyst for an insurance company whose knack for avoiding danger overwhelms him in his personal life. During his honeymoon, his new bride (Debra Messing) cheats on him with a French scuba instructor. Alas, Reuben’s calculations were wrong, and he returns to New York broken-hearted.
After running into an old friend, Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston), at a party, he decides to ask her on a date and get his life back on track. After a disastrous first date, the reemergence of Reuben’s wife and a complete personality clash, the relationship is plagued from the get-go. Ultimately these circumstances bring the two closer together, with a few good laughs along the way.
Unfortunately, this movie had little promise as a comedic hit from the beginning. The plot exhibits numerous holes, which continually bother viewers throughout the movie, and we never see the characters as believable. Even in the famous “zipper scene” in There’s Something About Mary, we felt for the character because he seemed so dimwitted. This movie exhibits none of that charm nor does it have Stiller’s charisma.
The chemistry between Stiller and Aniston is nonexistent as we find their relationship increasingly unrealistic and mired in its own problems. The lack of truly good comedy, too, is astounding, as some of the few good laughs come from a blind ferret.
Along Came Polly is a lackadaisical effort from a comedian who could do, and has done, much better. It comes across as an imitator, where Something About Mary and Meet The Parents were innovators. Hopefully next time around, Ben Stiller will bring back his original brand of comedy and wow us with another hit. For now, we’re stuck with Polly.
Ross Bercik can be reached at email@example.com