A DVD REVIEW: ALONG CAME POLLY (Universal) [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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07-20-2005, 09:45 PM
If there is one MASSIVE hole in my DVD collection (and dont deny it----we all have 'em) it has to be in the comedy section. For some reason --- well, let me put it frankly ---- because I like to buy mainly high-action thrillers with great surround audio on them, I just dont get around to buying many comedies; sure, in my collection I may have staples like Spaceballs and Office Space, but comedies are usually last on my list of must-have purchases.

That was.....until something catches my fancy, like this Ben Stiller/Jennifer Aniston comedy, which I enjoyed almost off the bat when I saw it. I am not usually one for these sappy flicks you need to sit with your girlfriend or wife with but I have endured PLENTY of them over the years with girlfriends next to me on the couch, or in the theater, and so something about Along Came Polly just grabbed me by the neck and wouldnt let go. I think it seriously had something to do with the fact that I could seriously, seriously relate to Ben Stiller's character in this film, because of the recent heartbreak I endured myself, and so the film just hits home for me and gives me some personal hope for moving on romantically in this crazy world of ours. Stiller just has a knack for these roles --- the pathetic, rejected, used nice guy who gets stepped on by women he goes out with, and he seems to have found his niche with this, although the Meet The Parents/Meet The Fockers series doesnt really have him playing a rejected guy, more another victim of his wife's father. But really, he always seems victimized in his roles as the nice guy just trying to meet a nice girl.

I picked up Along Came Polly pre-owned from Hollywood Video for $9.99, and figured I couldnt go wrong for this light comedy that tickled my fancy in adding it to my DVD collection; it really is a well-made romance/comedy which wont have you bursting at the seams laughing (when was the last time ANY movie did that for you in recent times?) but will have you cheering for Stiller as he tries to make sense of something that would drive most of us over the edge. Let me explain. Stiller's character asseses risks for a living in New York City, and he is a very scheduled, take-no-risks person. He marries the woman that rents his apartment to him and on THEIR HONEYMOON on some remote tropical island, he ends up catching her cheating on him, banging the brains out of their scuba diver instructor. Just watching this scene would break a normal guy's heart; worse yet, his wife decides to STAY on the island with this *******, and Stiller flies back home to New York, heartbroken, and returns to work. Now, if this was me, I dont know if would be able to just return to work and let that be that if I found my new wife in bed with someone on our honeymoon. At any rate, Stiller ends up going to an art "party" with a weird friend of his, as he tries to get on with his life without his wife, and runs into Polly Prince, an old high school classmate (played by a sexy Jennifer Aniston), who seems to be waitressing at this party. Well, you know where the film is headed at this point......Stiller asks her out, and they end up finding out they may not be a good match for each other because Stiller's character wont take risks and wont go to salsa clubs and "dirty dance" while Aniston's character is the opposite --- she plans nothing, lives on the edge and goes salsa dancing with a good looking gay guy that likes to feel her up on the dance floor of her favorite club. But a romance does develop, and Stiller learns to bring his guard down and enjoy ethnic foods with Aniston, as well as begin to do different things and live a little more "in the moment" instead of planning everything and being so stiff-shirted. That is, until Stiller's wife comes back into the picture and shows up at his apartment one night when he comes home with Aniston after a night out dancing. Seems the wife has gotten over her fling with the scuba diver instructor and is begging Stiller to let her come back into her life; but Stiller has already fallen for Aniston, and the best part of the film comes when Stiller, after hearing a VERY inspiring speech by his father (his father says to Stiller's friend "Its not about the past or even whats in the future.....its about the ride.....and just when you least expect it something great may come into your life....something better than you even planned for......" It was actually VERY inspiring to me personally right now) turns to his wife and tells her that he WILL NOT get back together with her and calls her a "cold *****" for what she did to him on their honeymoon.

Aniston, after thinking Stiller wants to get back together with the wife, leaves his life and plans on leaving New York to move yet again, but Stiller catches up with her to tell her he has fallen in love with HER, and is NOT getting back with the wife, and has even changed his "safe" ways, proving it to her by getting on his knees and eating peanuts off the dirty New York City streets. Aniston says to him at this point "Reuben, I am not going to marry you......" and Stiller responds "I dont wanna get married......I just want to take you out to dinner.....sometime this week.....if that would be alright......" and Aniston responds with "Can I pick the place?" as they hug and kiss each other; it is a touching moment to the film. The film ends with Aniston and Stiller on the same island and the same beach where he first caught his wife cheating with the scuba instructor (played by a really buffed out Hank Azaria), and ironically, Azaria shows up yet again to offer scuba instructions for the two of them, but Stiller, in so many other words, tells him to go **** himself.

Some of the comedy techniques used in Along Came Polly have been done before, but they still work a bit, such as a sequence where Stiller eats ethnic food which gets to his irritable bowel syndrome, and makes him run to Aniston's bathroom in her apartment, where his pants are around his ankles and he starts ripping really, really loud farts......when he reaches for the toilet paper, there of course is one tiny little square left, and so he needs to find something to wipe himself with ---- he ends up using an embroidered towel given to Aniston by her grandmother, and this floods the toilet, sending water into Aniston's apartment.....when she walks in on him, his pants are still around his ankles and he is plunging the toilet which is filled with brown liquid and I must say makes for a VERY embarassing situation; and this was on Stiller's FIRST DATE with Aniston! But as funny as this scene was, it had been done so many times before; the best example of this "farting on the toilet" gag was in Dumb and Dumber, where Jim Carrey dumps a load of laxative into his friend's cup of tea which makes him run to his date's bathroom and explode into gas and horrible diarreah and then learns that the toilet is broken and wont flush......the gag was ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL in that film, and I remember seeing Dumb and Dumber in a theater in Florida with an old friend of mine and CRACKING UP laughing during that scene. But after awhile, the whole "sitting on the bowl and farting" routine gets old in comedy.

For some added star power fluff, Along Came Polly featured a weight-gained Alec Baldwin as Stiller's boss who adds a bit of comedic relief, but seems out of his game here.


In a stange move by Universal, the aspect ratio of this DVD is mentioned NOWHERE on the box.....you have to open the keepcase and look on the DVD to see the "ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN 1:85:1" badge; when I first popped the disc in to watch, the image filled the entire 16X9 55" screen, so I wasnt sure if this was a full screen transfer or what because it didnt say on the box; only when I took the disc out at the END of the viewing did I notice it said ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN; at any rate, this is a STUNNING and BEAUTIFUL transfer from Universal. No problems. Colors are vibrant and alive. Very, very nice widescreen print and transfer on Along Came Polly, and, as I said, due to "overscanning" on my Mitsubishi screen, the 1:85:1 image filled the ENTIRE screen and just looked beautiful, especially the scenes on the beach with the island palm trees and aqua blue ocean water. Quite stunning actually.


In yet another head-scratcher from Universal, I dont know why DTS was used on Along Came Polly when it could have EASILY better been used on something like Van Helsing; still, this DTS mix is VERY nice for a comedy.....dialogue is clean and pretty crisp in the center channel, a bit on the "warm" side, not shrill or treble-heavy. There is very little surround usage, as is expected with a comedy, and most of Along Came Polly's audio stays up front, but when the soundstage calls for it, the track jumps to life such as support for the music in the salsa club (which wasnt that intense at any rate as most of the music stayed in the left and right front channels) and some other brief moments. The most surprising part of Along Came Polly's DTS mix was the LFE used on it ---- there were moments of this film that gave my subwoofer a good THUD believe it or not, such as when Stiller is playing racquetball with a guy he needs to risk assess; when the guy slams against the racquetball court's glass window, there was a WALLOP of bass that shook my room......it was a nice touch for a comedy with DTS.

Overall, a very nice sounding, smooth audio mix on the DTS track, appropriate for the kind of film it was, although more than a bit front-heavy. If there were any complaints beyond this from my critical ears, it would have to be that the mix is a bit "soft" and requires some amplification to really "get going."


-RODOLFO GOES TO HOLLYWOOD: The fiesty ferret gets a fabulous makeover and attends his first Hollywood premiere!
-CUTTING ROOM FLOOR: Hilarious deleted scenes you'll only see on this DVD!
-DO OVERS: Outtakes, goof ups and other moviemaking bloopers!
-MAKING THE MOVIE: Go behind the scenes to see how this outrageously entertaining comedy was made!
-THE INSIDE SCOOP: No-holds-barred movie commentary by director John Hamburg