Along Came Polly

Bomb Rating: 

Winona Ryder's closet has less stolen material.

Authentic human suffering is rarely a landscape for 90-minute comedies full of flatulence and pee-pee gags, and "Along Came Polly" demonstrates why: Crushing disappointments that would require years of recovery time and therapy for normal people are easily overcome by its characters with just a couple of inane transition scenes.

Take risk assessment analyst Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller), who finds his wife (Debra Messing) boinking their scuba instructor (Hank Azaria) whilst on their honeymoon. A couple short scenes later, Reuben has moved on and found Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston), a scatterbrained waitress with more commitment problems than Billy Bob Thornton.

Many things weigh on the mind's ability to accept this situation. The first is Reuben's miraculous psychological recovery after the love of his life stomps his heart flatter than Dennis Kucinich's presidential prospects. The second is perhaps more incomprehensible: How is it that Jennifer Aniston is just sort of waiting around for Stiller, who's the modern version of the missing link? It's like Salma Hayek dating Steve Buscemi's armpit hair.

If the story and individual scenes look suspiciously familiar, that's because they are. Winona Ryder's closet has less stolen material. There's the gross-out bathroom scene from "There's Something About Mary." The abused dog from that film is replaced with a blind ferret in this one. Reuben's best friend is former child star Sandy Lyle (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a gag just slightly evocative of "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star." When it's not stealing from other films, "Along Came Polly" simply reminds those who can't rely on Jennifer Aniston as a fallback date what losers they are.

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