Along Came Polly  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Along Came Polly is a 2004 American romantic comedy film written and directed by John Hamburg.


Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is an insurance underwriter who, since his job involves analyzing risk for insurance purposes, likes living life in complete safety and free from any unnecessary risk. As the film opens, he is celebrating his wedding to Lisa Kramer (Debra Messing), but promptly catches her having sex on their honeymoon with Claude (Hank Azaria), a French scuba instructor. After he returns he attempts to begin piecing his life back together. One night at the behest of his best friend - and fallen former teen actor - Sandy (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), he goes to an art gallery. There he runs into an extroverted former classmate named Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston). The reunion is cut short, however, due to Sandy wanting to go home.

Reuben decides to ask Polly out which in turn aggravates Sandy, who states that Polly is not as how she was when they were in junior high. At the end of the night they make tentative plans to get together.

After many of Polly's confirmations and cancellations, they finally manage to meet up at a Moroccan-style restaurant. Unfortunately for him, Reuben begins to suffer a bout of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (despite Sandy having reminded him of this prior to the date) and begins perspiring heavily. Unable to use the restaurant's bathroom (as it was occupied the entire time), he finally attempts to use Polly's bathroom. This attempt fails miserably and ends with Reuben's humiliation at Polly catching him in the act (after the toilet has overflowed onto the floor). Despite all of this Polly agrees to another date, this time at an Indian restaurant where they meet up with Reuben's parents. While at dinner Reuben's mother tells Polly of his failed marriage to Lisa and how she cheated on him during their honeymoon. Polly, touched by this, amends that she will help him to get over Lisa.

Reuben and Polly begin dating, with her introducing him to activities he once wrote off as "too risky" (such as salsa dancing). Meanwhile at work Reuben is attempting to assess Leland Van Lew, an Australian industrialist who enjoys engaging in life threatening stunts (such as swimming with great white sharks) thus also making it harder for anyone to insure him. Sandy is also busy making a documentary about his "life as a star".

Reuben runs into a conundrum when he finds himself torn between the free-spirited Polly and Lisa, who has returned and has stated her wish to reconcile their relationship. To solve this issue he enters Polly and Lisa into the Risk Master, a computer insurance program which measures risk in percentages when entered with people's advantages and disadvantages. The computer tells him that, despite his numerous blunders with her, that Polly is the best choice for him due in part to her lifestyle.

Lew invites Reuben to join him on a boating trip and he in turn decides to bring Polly along. During a storm Polly accidentally knocks into Reuben's computer, turning on the Risk Master. She sees he listed all her flaws and has compared her against those of Lisa. In a fit of anger she confronts him with the information, accusing him of using her as a fling while still remaining legally married to Lisa. She punctuates this point by stating that her own father had actually had two separate wives and families, revealing her reason for being afraid of commitment. She breaks things off with him then and there by telling him that he'd be better off going back to Lisa.

Reuben moves into his new house and talks to Lisa, who wants to see him. While at Sandy's play together they run into a friend of Polly's, who in turn reveals to him that she's leaving town, but he doesn't know why. Reuben gets a call from his boss Stan to give a final evaluation on Lew's case. As the play's beginning Sandy announces to the audience that he will be playing the lead of the play as well as his own part, prompting the lead actor to pick a fist fight with him right then and there on the stage. Afterwards Reuben's dad breaks his silence from the start of the film and tells Sandy to let go of his past, that life is about enjoying the ride. This has the dual effect of inspiring Reuben, who then tells Lisa he won't take her back because she's a "heartless bitch" for cheating on him. Reuben then convinces Sandy to stand in for him at the final meeting regarding Lew's case so that he can rush to catch Polly before she leaves town. He sees her leaving but is unable to keep up. He wanders back to her apartment where he finds her pet ferret Rodolfo, whose leash had gotten caught in the door. Soon after Polly comes back around the corner in time to see Reuben with Rodolfo. He apologizes to her and tells her that she was risky but worth it. Polly is not yet convinced of his epiphany, so Reuben then buys some nuts from a vendor and drops them on the ground before eating them, proving to her that he's capable of taking risks. He also tells her that if she leaves, she'll never know what they could have had together. The scene then cuts to Reuben and Polly on the beach where he and Lisa had had their honeymoon at the beginning of the film and where he again encounters Claude. Instead of being angry this time Reuben thanks Claude, and then heads into the water with Polly.


Box office

The film opened at #1 at the U.S. Box office raking in $27,721,185 USD in its first opening weekend, ending the month long reign of The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Along Came Polly" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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