“I actually almost picked this movie during the last round of scouring the movie wall, but opted for The Good Son instead since it always just missed the cut for my top 100. The reason I’ve been wanting to rewatch Polly is that it’s one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s rare comedic roles, and this was shortly after his death. I think PSH is why I got the movie to begin with, being curious to see him do funny. After being critically panned it was swept under the rug and ignored by most of the world. Seems like a kinda unfair rap to get stuck with.
Along Came Polly is a rom com that tries focus moreso on the com. Ben Stiller leads the rather respectable cast as risk analyst Reuben. While honeymooning with his new bride (Debra Messing), he finds her in flagrante with their scuba instructor (still wearing their flippers). He returns home where he soon reconnects with old classmate Polly (Jennifer Aniston). Her wild and crazy ways are the exact opposite of his careful and calculated lifestyle. Hilarity ensues. Or tries to.
I get where the derision comes from. There’s a lot of bathroom humor (literally and figuratively) that isn’t very clever. It just seems a feeble attempt to recreate Stiller’s There’s Something About Mary magic. And the rom part of the storyline is a little obvious. However, for me, the cast and characters really sold it.
I adore Ben Stiller, and I’ve always preferred his more down to earth characters (think Keeping the Faith) over his crazy ones (Zoolander, Dodgeball, anything else where his character has an atypical name). Reuben was a very likeable and charismatic character that you couldn’t help but root for. PSH is his wingman Sandy, and I gotta say, I really do love seeing him bring the funny. He may not be the funniest written character, but Hoffman handled it well, reigning him in just enough while still giving it his all. I wish he’d have had more roles like this.
Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer is often credited for causing the recent fascination with the manic pixie dream girl trope, but here’s Jennifer Aniston a few years earlier playing that type of elusive and flakey yet desirable and carefree woman. That type may be a little hard to believe, but she’s always fun to watch and Aniston was no exception.
The other little bit of fun that really amused me was the whole subplot with Sandy acting in Jesus Christ Superstar. His character being a d-bag about it was annoying, but I do love JCS and the context of it brought back happy nostalgia. And Heroes’ Hiro, Masi Oka, was playing Jesus. Or at least he was supposed to, until Sandy kept trying to insist he could play both Judas and Jesus. Oh PSH *tear*”