Ben Stiller is becoming the new Martin Lawrence it seems – for every one film of his that’s clever or funny comes five others which just reek of laziness, idiocy and more importantly bad jokes.
The difference is Stiller is outputting a hell of a lot more Lawrence ever did, the comedian managing to follow up last November’s horrid “Duplex” with not one but FOUR movies in which he’s the leading man over the first six months of this year. “Polly” will not go down in the ‘good’ column on his resume in the future, but it won’t be high up in the ‘bad’ either.
You see underneath all the really lame jokes and tired material whether it be Hank Azaria’s nudity to a ton of gags about bodily fluids, there’s a wee bit of charm here, mostly due to Aniston who plays the material straight, combined with her impulsive character quirks which radiate a nice bit of free spirit in an otherwise formulaic and ordinary script.
Kudos also goes to most of the supporting cast ranging from Bryan Brown as a adrenalin junkie billionaire, Phil Seymour Hoffman as a former child star and Alec Baldwin as the gruff foul-mouthed boss. Compared to their earlier work this is very low brow, nevertheless they all go with it and have fun which makes it bearable.
What plain turns everyone off in the end though is the humour. From an explosive diahorrea moment to a basketball match against a hirsute player who’s all sweaty, most of the jokes ultimately fail as the situations are designed to be funny because they’re happening to such an anally retentive man like Stiller’s character, but any regular person would be grossed out if the same thing happened to them (thus the humour is lost).
It’s vulgar for vulgar’s sake and when scenes such as the nuts on the sidewalk moment happen, it truly rings pathetic. There’s the odd moment of fun such as the salsa dancing sequence but the odd light-hearted gem is hidden by all too much tired and constrictively bad material in what’s supposed to be a movie about freeing yourself.