Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 90 minutes
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There’s good physical comedy, and then there’s movies like ‘Along Came Polly’. Good gag films like ‘There’s Something About Mary’, ‘American Pie’ and even the ‘Home Alone’ films proved that physical pain and personal suffering can be made funny if made with care and in a way that didn’t insult the audiences attention. Slapstick humor has been a god sent ever since the Three Stooges delivered their first poke to the eyes, but as of late the toilet humor comedy has taken a serious turn for the worse. Like a bad outbreak of chick flicks, this film is a stunning example of how horrible a comedy can get when made with poor material and direction with little inspiration. ‘Along Came Polly’ is a strong example of what’s gone wrong with many comedies these days as it seemed incapable unable to make anything remotely funny without recycling jokes from other movies and even from television sitcoms and trying to make it their own. The result was one of the worst films I’ve seen in a long, long time as this entire movie proved to me is that it’s never too early to start the race for next year’s Golden Razzies…
To find out where this failure began, look no further than the cast. Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston have the chemistry of a cardboard box. It’s hard to ever believe that people like Stiller and Aniston could ever hook up let alone fall in love and live happily ever after. Stiller’s character feels and acts the same and is really no different than the characters he’s played in previous comedies. Aniston doesn’t do any better. Her acting is completely off beat and too inconsistent to be believed by the audience. Aniston’s acting leaves very little to be desired, especially in her ‘ditzy’ scenes when she is very reminiscent the character we’ve gotten tired of seeing on “Friends” every week. The only bright spot in this movie was Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Stiller’s best friend. Hoffman takes what usually would be a crummy role and shines with it, stealing almost every scene he’s in throughout the film.
Yet should the cast shoulder the blame for this film’s rotten stench? Hardly. Writers and even the director have to bear a bit of the blame for the stench coming from this corpse of a film. You can’t help but feel sorry for Ben and Jennifer who seemed trapped within the restricted confines of a simple, clichéd comedy that follows the formula too well to the point where nothing in this film comes as a surprise. Some of blame can also be given to the people who were responsible for marketing this film. Every decent gag this film had going for it was shown, in other words SPOILED, by the film’s advertising. If you’ve seen the commercial for this movie, chances are you’ve already seen all the best parts of this movie. While I understand the need for gag comedies to fill their usual quota of toilet humor, this kind of humor has actually run out of originality. I found the bathroom scene in Dumb & Dumberer to be funnier because at least that joke had nothing to do with actual feces. Many jokes were not only ripped from movies but from television past as well. I’ve seen many of these gags before, and recycling them on screen just doesn’t work. You can only bash a vision impaired ferret’s head off the wall so many times before that gets old too.
Another attempt to be funny that was overdone and completely unnecessary was the absolutely horrible portrayal of foreigners. The French scuba diving instructor (play horribly by Hank Azaria) was more than enough the first time around; there was no need to recycle that joke later on. By then I had enough of the French bashing, which got old a long, long time ago with Freedom Fries. The risky Australian businessman was just a reckless Steve Irwin wannabe, a waste of screen time and insulting to the average viewer who deserve to see well than this. It’s not funny, and there’s no way any kind of bathroom humor can make up for it… no matter how hard they tried.
Overall, ‘Along Came Polly’ manages to have its funny moments, which I am sure you’ll enjoy if you haven’t seen the advertising. There’s so much missing from it that you feel frustrated when the end credits begin rolling up the screen. This movie could have been really good, but bad writing and sub-par direction ruined it. How many more times are we going to watch Ben Stiller at like the same ‘stunned’ deer caught in the headlights act before we finally have enough? I really thought Duplex with Drew Barrymore was a lot point for Stiller, but now I sit corrected as this movie goes even lower into the pit of recycled crap. It’s nothing more than a tired remake that we’ve all seen so many times. You’d be better off using your money to see something else, because this 2 hour Friends episode is not worth seeing. Hell, it’s not even worth renting.
Posted on February 10, 2004 in Reviews by Peter Lowry
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