Oh, the picturesque romantic honeymoon: flying to a secluded island with a new bride or groom, lounging on white sandy beaches, swimming in crystal clear waters, catching one’s spouse making whoopee with the French scuba instructor – wait – what?
“Along Came Polly” has its funny moments but in the long run is nothing more than a predictable date movie. Writer/director John Hamburg, better known for “Meet the Parents” and “Zoolander,” disappoints with his latest effort by exhausting jokes from previous films and failing to provide the side-splitting moments we’ve come to expect from him.
Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston are enjoyable but are shadowed by more memorable character actors who make up the supporting cast. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hank Azaria, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Brown and a blind ferret named Rudolfo supply the film with its better moments, although they still feel contrived and unoriginal.
Stiller plays Reuben Feffer, a risk assessment analyst convinced he has found the perfect woman in Lisa, played by Debra Messing of “Will and Grace.” After the two marry in what seems like the picture-perfect wedding, Reuben and Lisa jet to an idyllic island paradise for their honeymoon.
Enter Azaria, playing French scuba instructor Claude, who approaches beachgoers and entices them to “go scuba.” Reuben’s fear of scuba diving leads him to send Lisa alone, only to catch her and Claude in bed, still wearing fins.
Though defeated and betrayed, Reuben returns to New York and tries to move on. His best friend Sandy (Hoffman) attempts to get Reuben back in the dating scene by inviting him to an art reception where he runs into his now-lovely childhood pal Polly Prince (Aniston).
Reuben and Polly begin dating, but it’s clear the two are utter opposites. Reuben is a conservative, lackluster romantic seeking commitment, and Polly is a spontaneous, exhilarating party girl who gets stir-crazy if in one place for too long. Polly attempts to thrust Reuben out of his shell, and, just as he lets down his guard, Lisa returns and begs to be taken back. It’s here the formulaic romantic comedy dilemma ensues and Reuben must ultimately choose between the woman who stabbed him in the back and the woman who is completely unpredictable. Ultimately, when his choice is revealed, the lack of proper bellyaches detracts heavily from any audience plot interest.
Whatever you do, don’t go into “Along Came Polly” expecting Stiller at the top of his comedic game as he was in gems like “Zoolander” and “There’s Something About Mary.” Instead, be prepared to see a lukewarm film that relies primarily on toilet humor and recycled gags. “Along Came Polly” has its moments but overall is nothing more than a bad date movie that could easily be a rental.