review for Along Came Polly on AllMovie

Along Came Polly (2004)
by Perry Seibert review

John Hamburg had previously worked on the screenplays for Zoolander and Meet the Parents before this film, proving that he had the ability to shape material for Ben Stiller. With Along Came Polly, Hamburg graduates to the director's chair as well, and his inexperience behind the camera is noticeable. Although he takes his time and carefully establishes the failed marriage that opens the movie, the body of the film lacks continuity. There are bits of business that seem like they will payoff later but never do, and the scenes fluctuate wildly in their pacing. Although the film fails to work as a whole, there are moments that generate real laughter. Philip Seymour Hoffman uses his potent physicality to get laughs out of both an introductory pratfall and a handful of basketball scenes. In his too few scenes, Alec Baldwin finds the perfect tone as Stiller's boss, combining authority, unctuousness, insincerity, and affection in equal measure. Stiller himself is very comfortable playing this type of character -- for him it is the equivalent of an old pair of sneakers. He's fine, but he does nothing new. Jennifer Aniston could have been interesting, but aside from goading Stiller's character into coming out of his shell, she has almost nothing to play. The film glosses over her emotional issues in order to focus on Stiller's gastrointestinal issues. Along Came Polly lacks inspiration, but for all its faults, it does give the supporting performers enough room to make it better than it could have been.