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ALONG CAME POLLY
U.S. Release Date: January 16, 2004
Distributor: Universal
Producer: Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher
Composer: Theodore Shapiro
Cast: Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Hart
Running Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, language, crude humor and some drug references)

Poolander
by Scott Holleran

The glut of gross-out movies continues unabated with Along Came Polly, written and directed by John Hamburg, the co-writer of Meet the Parents and Zoolander. Ben Stiller fans and those who bust a gut over toilet-oriented jokes will probably find this trashy production hilarious. Despite the slick marketing—the print ads mask it as a light romance—Along Came Polly plays like a bad sitcom episode with a bigger budget.

For the record, Stiller plays a Jewish risk analyst named Reuben, whose wife (Debra Messing, Grace on Will and Grace) cheats on him during their honeymoon. Jennifer Aniston plays flaky Polly, an aimless waitress who becomes the object of Stiller's affections. The script is a string of potty jokes with no plot and Stiller's and Aniston's romantic pairing generates as much excitement as a blank wall.

Several actors, including the fine Bryan Brown (Breaker Morant) and Hank Azaria (Quiz Show), round out the cast with characters created to emphasize the movie's familiar brand of crude comedy.

With defecation as writer and director Hamburg's notion of an engaging theme, it is more humorous to imagine studio executives insisting that Hamburg include a marginal romantic plot element, which Along Came Polly actually employs later in its unbearable 90 minutes. Though there is an audience for this kind of movie, the Beavis and Butt-head types will find it too girly and their girlfriends will find it too moronic.

By the time what passes for romance takes its predictable course, Alec Baldwin has rubbed his pee all over Ben Stiller, Philip Seymour Hoffman has pooped in his pants, and Jennifer Aniston has made another lousy movie. Only a relatively funny salsa scene saves Along Came Polly from being rendered completely incontinent.


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