Ya know how kids on the playground in grammar
school will do anything to gain popularity amongst their peers, no matter
what the cost? Okay, now, let’s say the only thing on that playground is a
sandbox. To be a member of the coolest group in school you have to do
several things with the sand. (1) Throw it at a social outcast. (2) Eat
it. (3) Shove it down your pants, and spin around, in attempts to get it
out, till you become dizzy and barf. Do all this without the teacher
catching you. Yep, pretty disgusting, but not all that abnormal.
Now, please indulge yourselves in this analogy.
Young Ben Stiller is in the third grade. He wants to be cool. So what does
he do? Throw the sand, eat the sand, shove it down his pants and spin
around till he throws up. Typical kid. Now, picture this. Scratch
that—don’t picture it—see it. Big Ben Stiller hasn’t learned to grow up.
He’s thirty-eight-years-old and still wants to be popular. But instead of
doing it with sand, he does it with his audiences. Human nature has
overcome him. He’s become a greedy, unfunny little bastard. Now, instead
of making inspired works of comic genius, and starring in hysterically
wondrous movies, he goes for those which will obtain commercial success.
Of course, this is perfectly natural, because all he really wants is the
blingbling. Formula does sell over substance. The public thinks he’s a
cool guy. However, us critics, the teachers, have caught him. Along
Came Polly makes me want to put him into detention.
In this movie, he plays Reuben Feffer,
a man who gets married, but then dumps his wife when he catches her
getting busy with the hot and nude scuba instructor on their honey-moon.
Reuben assesses risk for a living, and according to his computer, she
wasn’t all that bad of a choice for a wife. This event has simply sent him
over the edge, leaving him quite depressed. That is, until he becomes
reunited with Polly Prince (Jennifer Anniston), who went to middle school
with him. They’re two opposites; Reuben is conservative about anything and
everything in his life, while she “lives life on the edge,” according to
him. However, they begin to develop feelings for each other, despite their
contrasting lifestyles. The only question we’re left to “ponder” is: will
he end up with her, the nutty one, or wipe the slate clean and start over with
his wife? Oh, I really do wonder! What could the answer be?
The movie on the whole isn’t as bad as
Stiller’s performance, however. Despite the terrible script, Jennifer
Anniston and supporter Phillip Seymour Hoffman are actually decent in
their roles, giving it some flavor. I can honestly say there are many
funny moments in Along Came Polly, even though hardly any of them
involve the leading man. Reuben is just a loser. Not a likeable loser. Not
a loser that gains our sympathy. Just a loser. In a perfect world, Stiller
would keep away from mediocre teen fares, such as this one. However, we
don’t live in that world. Too bad that too many stars value commercialism
over quality. This fact, alone, is more than enough to make us movie buffs
want to cry.
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