Philip KEY AT THE MOVIES: A Risk You Might Not Want to Take; ALONG CAME POLLY (Cert 12a):stars Ben Stiller,Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman,Debra Messing,Hank Azaria,Alec Baldwin, Bryan Brown; director,John Hamburg. 90mins. Rating *** HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG (Cert 15)stars Jennifer Connelly,Ben Kingsley,Shohreh Aghdashloo,Ron Eldard,Jonathan Ahdoot,Ashley Edner,Frances Fisher,Kim Dickens; director,Vadim Perelman.124mins. Rating ****

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), February 27, 2004 | Go to article overview

Philip KEY AT THE MOVIES: A Risk You Might Not Want to Take; ALONG CAME POLLY (Cert 12a):stars Ben Stiller,Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman,Debra Messing,Hank Azaria,Alec Baldwin, Bryan Brown; director,John Hamburg. 90mins. Rating *** HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG (Cert 15)stars Jennifer Connelly,Ben Kingsley,Shohreh Aghdashloo,Ron Eldard,Jonathan Ahdoot,Ashley Edner,Frances Fisher,Kim Dickens; director,Vadim Perelman.124mins. Rating ****


Byline: Philip KEY

TO GET anywhere in life, you have to take risks.

Along CamePolly is a romantic comedy about a man who has spent his entire life playing safe,leaving nothing to chance.

When he finally plucks up the courage to throw caution to the wind, our hapless hero discovers fulfilment and love.

Reuben Feffer (Stiller) is a risk assessor for a major insurance company who calculates the possible dangers in any given situation. And he refuses to take any risks in his own life -regardless of the possible benefits.

His carefully ordered world implodes when his bubbly new wife Lisa (Messing) cheats on him during their honeymoon with a hunky French diving instructor (Azaria).

Reuben vows a lifelong boycott of relationships -the odds of lasting happiness are simply too remote -but with the encouragement of his Z-list actor pal Sandy (Hoffman), the jilted risk assessor soon changes his mind.

He meets ditzy old school friend Polly (Aniston), who stirs long dormant feelings. Unfortunately, she is clumsy, unpredictable and completely spontaneous: everything that a man in Reuben's position would normally bet against.

Can love blossom between the two polar opposites?

Along Came Polly is a disappointment considering the calibre of comedic acting talent and the writing pedigree of John Hamburg (Meet The Parents,Zoolander), who also directs.

Many of the film's best and most unsavoury moments are shoe-horned into the trailer -Reuben's collision with a sweaty, hirsute, bare-chested basketball player -and the set-pieces are all hand-me-downs.

Stiller plays another neurotic, unlucky-in-love schmuck which is quickly becoming his stock-in-trade but he clashes nicely with Aniston, who doesn't overplay her ditzy girl-about-town.

The sexual chemistry between the two leads isn't entirely convincing,no matter how forcibly the screenplay pushes them together.

Hoffman delivers a delicious supporting performance as a former child star still clinging onto visions of his own self- importance and Alec Baldwin is a hoot as Reuben's ultra-machoboss.

When all is said and done, watching Along Came Polly is a risk you might choose to avoid.

BNicolo (Connelly) AD things happen to good people all of the time.

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Philip KEY AT THE MOVIES: A Risk You Might Not Want to Take; ALONG CAME POLLY (Cert 12a):stars Ben Stiller,Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman,Debra Messing,Hank Azaria,Alec Baldwin, Bryan Brown; director,John Hamburg. 90mins. Rating *** HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG (Cert 15)stars Jennifer Connelly,Ben Kingsley,Shohreh Aghdashloo,Ron Eldard,Jonathan Ahdoot,Ashley Edner,Frances Fisher,Kim Dickens; director,Vadim Perelman.124mins. Rating ****
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