Along Came Polly

By Mark Ramsey | 2004/01/18

Along comes January and Along Came Polly. It’s the dregs of the movie year, and it’s time to let auld acquaintance be forgot and make new acquaintance with a movie that’ll be forgot somewhere between the parking lot and the driveway – and I mean the driveway to the parking lot.

Jennifer Aniston and Debra Messing – together! You asked for it, and you got it. Well, you didn’t ask for it, but that’s what you got. Is it a Must-See Thursday experiment in the genetics of comedy cross-fertilization? Nope, just two TV fixtures on the same big screen at the same small time. Well, if it’s fixtures I need, I’ll renovate a bathroom.

Cross-fertilization, indeed! The guys on Debra’s show, Will & Grace, are lucky to fertilize an herb garden.

alongcamepolly_hair.jpgBen Stiller is the thinking man’s Adam Sandler, even if he’s only as tall as most thinking men’s ribs. His bio says he’s 5’8″, but he must be measuring in kitty cat paws.

Here, unfortunately, Ben does most of his thinking with his tuchus. In fact, much of the action in Along Came Polly occurs in and around a toilet, which is fitting since this movie sucks everything but you in and is best experienced while reading a newspaper. Well, Along Came Potty!

Bodily fluids and their consequences loom large. Witness Ben’s testament of devotion: “I couldn’t have thrown up 19 times in 48 days if I wasn’t in love with you.” In other words, “you had me at hurl-o.”

Ben is a clean-freak because his job has taught him the danger of risks everywhere. Jennifer, meanwhile, is one big box of sugar-coated risk-sicles. And when the room turns cold, sugar-coated erect risk-sickles.

Ben drives a knife into a decorative pillow in order to liberate himself from … the insidious evil of domestic furnishings? I hope this isn’t how he liberated himself from Jeanne Tripplehorn. After all, she has been out of sight for about a decade now.

Later, he gets up close and personal with a weekend warrior’s bushy back (which again brings us to the to the topic of Jeanne Tripplehorn). But it’s not all bad news. After sliding his face along this fuzzy, carpeted spine, Ben’s head is now Stainmaster-certified!

alongcamepolly_sign.jpgNo animal was harmed during the making of this film, and that includes Jennifer Aniston’s hair. Unfortunately Ben Stiller’s dignity takes a number of body blows, but Ben’s been trading dignity for a name above the title for some years now.

Hank Azaria is a nude French scuba instructor whose bare ass is the closest this movie will ever get to a Golden Globe. Say, why do actors insist on a closed set because they’re embarrassed about getting naked for a film that later opens in 3,000 theaters before millions of moviegoers? “I’m not shy about you seeing me naked, just about you seeing it for free.”

A snack bowl is a hot zone of bacteria for Ben, but Jennifer likes to live life on the edge of everything but a spotlight and a red carpet. “Those nuts have pee on them!” warns Ben. “if I wanted to avoid nuts covered with pee I never would have married Brad Pitt,” replies Jennifer.

Bryan Brown returns to the screen as an adventurous Australian billionaire. Bryan is probably best remembered from The Thorn Birds. He was the guy who wanted the woman who wanted the priest who was wanted by Barbara Stanwyck who was wanted for impersonating someone with real teeth. Never had a television audience been so distracted by dentures – until Regis. Long will I remember Stanwyck embracing Richard Chamberlain with a firm, deliberate Poli-Grip.

Ben assesses risk for a living. He does this by typing ten numbers onto one computer screen and taking three forty-hour work-weeks to do it. I would think more of his omniscient program, “Risk-Master,” if somebody could prove it vetted the script before production. Then again, it ain’t called “Funny-Master”!

Along Came Polly is short of a laugh riot the way Ben Stiller is short of 5’8″.

And I’m short of amused.

Photos Copyright ©2004 Universal Pictures


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