Risk-averse Reuben Feffer, whose best-laid plans for life and love careen wildly off-track when his bride dumps him on their honeymoon for a muscle-bound scuba instructor. Stunned, humiliated and in the grip of acute indigestion, Reuben plans to play it safer than ever. But a chance adventure with an adventure-craving childhood friend named Polly, shoots him into a whirlwind of extreme sports, spicy foods, ferrets, salsa dancing and living in the moment.
Nothing can really make up for the mismatching of Ben Stiller, as a phobia-ridden risk assessor for an insurance company, and Jennifer Aniston, as the free-spirited daredevil who tries to liberate him from his safety obsession. This flat romantic comedy by one of the writers of "Meet the Parents" and "Zoolander," both of which starred Mr. Stiller, also fails to provide any reason a spunky girl-next-door like Ms. Aniston's character would give Mr. Stiller's uptight nerd the time of day. His troubles begin on the first day of his St. Barts honeymoon with his new wife (Debra Messing), who deserts him for a hunky, French scuba diver (Hank Azaria). Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin and Bryan Brown have colorful turns as, respectively, Mr. Stiller's slobby best friend, his crude boss, and an insurance client who likes to leap from office buildings with a parachute. — Stephen Holden
2004-01-16 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Along Came Polly