“Along Came Polly”
It might be filled with clunky potty humor and have
no chemistry between its romantic leads, but “Along
Came Polly” also has quite a few laughs, thanks
largely to its cast.
Ben Stiller plays an insurance risk-assessor whose
wife screws a French scuba-diving instructor (a hilarious
Hank Azaria) the first night of their honeymoon.
So he meets the allegedly wacky Polly and dates her
on the rebound…and maybe falls in love with
her, I dunno.
If the film had done a better job of communicating
the romance and Polly’s wackiness, the film
might have been a nice showcase for some amusing
set pieces and supporting roles by Philip Seymour
Hoffman as Stiller’s best friend, a washed-up
former star, and Alec Baldwin as Stiller’s
As it is, however, it feels more like a missed
opportunity that still pulls off some laughs
than a successful comedy.
Lions Gate Films
For the past decade, William H. Macy has been one
of the best character actors working. Wayne Kramer’s “The
Cooler” finally gives him a romantic leading
role and Macy fulfills the promise splendidly. Moving
from down-and-out to elated, Macy brings life to
what could have been a boring unlucky character without
the proper acting.
And unlucky he is. Bernard Lootz’s luck is
so bad that he works in a Las Vegas casino as a cooler—he
stands next to people on winning streaks, and they
start losing when he’s near. He currently works
to pay back his friend, a crooked casino manager
played by Alec Baldwin, who is very good, although
the character sometimes goes over the top.
Baldwin’s character faces suits who want to
turn his last-of-the-old-school casino into a recreational
locale, so it’s a bigger problem when Bernie’s
luck changes after many years when he falls in love
with a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello).
Kramer shows a strong literacy of films past and
sets up the luck with a series of misfortunes,
like no cream for his coffee, that might seem
small, but mean a lot when they all happen to
one person. Kramer shows promise as a writer/director
with a knack for communicating premises and creating
lively locations, such as the old, traditional
and corrupt spirit of Vegas.
Walt Disney Pictures
Get ready for some fun learnin’! “Disney’s
Teacher’s Pet” isn’t an animated
film about the pet of animation pioneer Walt Disney’s
teacher, but about a dog (voiced by Nathan Lane)
who can talk, and so goes to school with his master
(Shaun Flemming). I think it’s safe to assume
that everyone learns some lessons, both educational-wise
and life-wise, about dogs, school, taking dogs to
school and…let’s say dog school. Kelsey
Grammer, Jerry Stiller and Paul Reubens (back in
kids’ movies) are also featured.
1 reel (out of four)—reviewed by Jordan Scrivner