No cracker for the overly dull 'Polly'

    enerally film trailers are supposed to show scenes that appeal to audiences while retaining some juicy bits of footage for the full feature. However in some cases, due to a limited number of enticing clips, a preview can actually give away the best elements of a film, thus spoiling the movie. That is precisely the problem with ³Along Came Polly.² The film is a typical mixture of choppily edited gross-out scenes built into a more humane romantic story. Ben Stiller is Reuben Feffer, a neurotic risk assessor, who takes a chance at romance with the noncommittal Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston) after he catches his wife Lisa Kramer (Debra Messing) doing much more than just scuba diving with the French nudist Claude (Hank Azaria) on their honeymoon.

    In terms of the repulsive comedy, by now you’ve all seen the blind ferret running into walls, the sweaty basketball player smearing his grime all over Feffer’s face, and Feffer’s boss Stan Indursky (Alec Baldwin) caressing Stiller’s ear in the bathroom, then giving Feffer a friendly slap on rear. Unfortunately, that is the gist of the film ‹ and all of that comes through in the trailer.

    Stiller, once again, blandly takes on his typical role of an average loser who is as aggressive as a butterfly. The actor unleashes his overused inventory of facial expressions, but in this case they fail to charm or inspire pity. Aniston likewise remains within her limited range with a character that is supposedly wild and carefree and yet somehow awestruck by the lifeless Feffer. Their chemistry is as arousing as a piece of dry bark.

    The one thing that can be said about these characters is that they perfectly match the overused plotline in which the biggest risk ends up being the most rewarding choice.

    The supporting cast members, in particular Philip Seymour Hoffman, Baldwin and Azaria, ideally tackle their oddball personas, and their brief scenes elicit the biggest laughs.

    As Sandy Lyle, Hoffman brings humanity to the role of a tasteless slacker who lives in denial and has delusions of grandeur after acting in one successful film years earlier. When Lyle finally discovers that his ambition cannot compensate for his lack of talent, Hoffman performs a genuine, disappointing realization in the most emotional scene in the film. Baldwin adds seriousness and control to create a realistic boss who says unsuitable things at the most inopportune times. Although Azaria’s screen time is reduced to three short sequences, he nicely captures an amicable foreign lover and his over-the-top accent is hysterical. These actors are definitely the highlight of the film. It is unfortunate that their work is placed on the backburner behind the two over-hyped lovers.

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