03 January 2017

Along Came Polly (starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston)

Staying with relatives for a few days, they suggested watching a DVD one evening. We had not heard of this one, but it was a new arrival in the household and we hoped that it would make an undemanding, possibly amusing watch for ninety minutes or so.

‘Along came Polly’ stars Ben Stiller as a rather uptight risk assessor called Reuben. It opens, as the titles are showing, with scenes from his wedding day to the ‘perfect’ Lisa, a girl he has wooed gradually over four years. The film proper starts when they are on the beach on the first day of their honeymoon… and disaster, for Reuben, ensues.

Confused and hurt he returns home and is persuaded by his close friend Sandy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to go to a social event, where he bumps into Polly (Jennifer Aniston), someone he has not seen since junior high school. He takes this as a sign that he should perhaps move on and start dating again, but he is very nervous indeed…

Polly turns out to be Reuben’s polar opposite, a free spirit who lives a bohemian life, and who likes to take all kinds of risks. Alongside their growing relationship Reuben is trying to evaluate whether or not his company should ensure a wealthy businessman who spends his leisure time taking as many dangerous risk as possible.

Most of the humour is mild slapstick, with some rather uncomfortable bathroom scenes that I didn’t find amusing at all. I also really didn’t like the way that Polly’s elderly ferret kept bumping into things. But still, the chemistry is good between the two principals, and there’s some nice scripting. The film moves at a good pace, and if the ending is somewhat predictable, it’s satisfactory.

As a story about opposites attracting, it’s perhaps caricatured; most of the minor characters and subplots are strongly so. Nonetheless it gives rise to some interesting questions about how far it makes sense to avoid risks, and what commitment means.

The film is rated 12 (PG-13 in the US), presumably for bedroom scenes and implications, and a bit of rear-view nudity. There's minor violence a couple of times too, but I don't recall any 'strong' language, which is quite refreshing for a film made this century. Unlikely to be of any interest to children, other than perhaps the unpleasant bathroom scenes.

A pleasant evening’s light viewing, but not a film I’d necessarily want to see again.

Review by copyright 2017 Sue's DVD Reviews