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Along Came Polly

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jan
Along Came Polly
from Film Forum, 01/22/04

A paranoid risk-assessment agent. A wild and crazy thrill-seeker. A romance that draws a worrywart into a world of extreme sports, dirty dancing, ferret-keeping, and opportunism. These elements should provide the opportunity for hilarious comedy.

But the screenwriter missed that opportunity. At least, that's what almost all religious press film critics are saying about Along Came Polly. Despite an all-star cast—Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Debra Messing, Hank Azaria and Alec Baldwin—this comedy from the co-writer of Meet the Parents, John Hamburg, is the first disappointment of the new year.

"By looking at the poster … one would expect a breezy romantic comedy full of love, laughs and a ferret," says David DiCerto (Catholic News Service). "Hamburg delivers on the ferret. And though one out of three is not bad, the movie is."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "The problem is not with the actors but with the material. There isn't that much for them to work with. The characters they're playing just aren't interesting. [Stiller and Aniston] are rather disappointing. They're simply doing shtick we've seen them do many times before."

Lisa A. Rice (Movieguide) condemns its "nasty scatological humor."

Phil Boatwright (Movie Reporter) says the film continues a trend in contemporary comedies, supplying "bathroom antics in place of wit."

Loren Eaton (Plugged In) says, "All the raunch and disrespect make the film's already ambiguous moral messages seem tacked on and insincere, and its mirth self-conscious and hollow."

"I'm confused," says Annabelle Robertson (Crosswalk). "Is the director four years old—or does he think we are? Because that's the only age group I know of (outside of Hollywood) which thinks potty humor is downright hilarious."

Taking a solitary stand in favor of the film, Gareth Van Kallenbach (Phantom Tollbooth) calls it "a funny and enjoyable comedy that should make you laugh and leave you with a smile."

Scowling, mainstream critics shake their heads and hurry off to the next movie in hopes of finding something better.

from Film Forum, 01/29/04

Loren Eaton (Plugged In) says, "Along Came Polly viewers will … ingest skewed messages about marriage's importance (or lack thereof), sexual gags galore and multiple misuses of God's name. Ultimately, all the raunch and disrespect make the film's already ambiguous moral messages seem tacked on and insincere, and its mirth self-conscious and hollow."

Chris Monroe (Christian Spotlight) finds irony in that "while Along Came Polly proudly purports the idea that the 'safe' choice isn't really the best choice, the run of the mill making of this film does nothing but choose what is 'safe' with jokes, characters, and storylines that are all very commonplace. Clearly, the medium holds none of the message and works against itself in providing any effectiveness."