Risk assessor Ben Stiller believes his life is unfolding according to plan. But then his newwife (Debra Messing) leaves him on their honeymoon for a French scuba instructor (aterrifyingly ripped Hank Azaria). Trying to put his life back together (with dubious help fromslob friend Philip Seymour Hoffman), Stiller runs into old classmate Jennifer Aniston (the Pollyof the title). Her bohemian character is the polar opposite of his, which leads to many dismayingsituations for h…m, but, smitten, he is determined to win her. Then Messing re-enters thepicture…
As a romance, Along Came Polly leaves something to be desired. Aniston hasrelatively little screen time, and while we are TOLD she is a free spirit, we are shown preciouslittle evidence of this. In fact, both her and Stiller’s characters are rather vaguely defined, andare little more than their established screen personas. But if the emotional side of the film doesn’twork, the comedic side does. There are several howlingly funny scenes at Stiller’s expense, muchin the vein of There’s Something About Mary (if not quite achieving those sublimeheights). Hoffman turns in another scene-stealing performance, and Alec Baldwin goes seriouslyto town as Stiller’s boss. All of the incidentals are in place, then. The film is simply missing itscore.
A number of missed surround opportunities here (such as the scenes in Stiller’s office), andwhen the environmental effects kick in, they tend to be rather low key (the ocean surf is a case inpoint). Otherwise, music and dialogue are crisp and undistorted, and there is, at least, noinappropriate surround effects.
With one notable exception, the transfer is excellent. The colours are vibrant, the image israzor sharp, and there is no grain or edge enhancement haloes. Blacks and flesh tones areexcellent too. Except for that one exception, and this occurs in the beach scenes with HankAzaria. Here the colour fluctuation is extreme. Watch Azaria’s flesh go from pale to red lobsterand back again in the blink of an eye. (This looks even more ridiculous frame by frame.)
Writer/director John Hamburg’s commentary is engaging and very detailed, and is both sceneand (often) shot specific. Hamburg also comments on the original opening and the deleted scenes(of which there are seven in a single montage, but with chapter divisions). “Rodolfo GoesHollywood” is a pointless featurette involving the ferret going to the premiere. The Making-offeaturette is the usual, 10-minute promo. Better are the cast and crew biographies andfilmographies, which are quite extensive. Also on offer are outtakes, the theatrical trailer (alongwith a handful of others that load with the disc), and DVD-ROM features. The menu’s mainscreen, intro and transitions are animated and scored. The next level of screens are scored.
If the film does not, finally, fully succeed, it does have enough very funny scenes to makeit a worthwhile rental.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Original Opening with Optional Director’s Commentary
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- Cast and Crew Bios and Filmographies
- “Rodolfo Goes Hollywood” Featurette
- DVD-ROM Features