What a bomb. The only growth the character Rueben (Ben Stiller) experiences is that he gives up being obsessive about taking risks in life to hang out with Polly, the unstructured one, and live through weeks of excruciating episodes of irritable bowel syndrome.
It’s also a kind of formulaic romance but with the characters only promising each other that they’ll – hang out (live together). If one of the criteria for romantic genre is that the main characters sacrifice something for the other – then Along Came Polly doesn’t go anywhere. Rueben gives up his immature attachments to risk and germs, but Polly doesn’t give up anything. These characters use each other in non-transcendent ways.
It didn’t make me laugh – and the actors are all good comedians – by themselves or with others. This ensemble hit it big the first weekend. As I write this there’s an ad on TV saying the film is “hilarious.” Maybe you had to be there.
The industry is revving up for a big Valentine’s Day celebration through several new films, one of them WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON.
It’s conventional with an innocent love triangle between West Virginians Rosalee, (Kate Boswell) and Pete (Topher Grace – That 70’s Show) characters and Tad, played by Josh Duhamel.
The actors play improbable people but this little fantasy works because the actors are willing and do sacrifice for the other. The actors are too beautiful to be real, but its a confection. There is too much drinking – as recreation, as ways of coping and as comedy and we didn’t need that.
“Preserve your carnal treasure!” yells Pete as Rosalee takes off for Hollywood and her date with Tad. And she does – not because Peter tells her to but because she has values.
This isn’t going to win any awards, but I sure liked it as compared to ALONG CAME POLLy, which was … why?
In America by director Jim Sheridan, is wonderful. If I had seen it before today (Jan 4) it would have made my top three for last year. This tale of a husband and wife from Ireland and their two daughters (sublimely played by real life sisters) who have lost a son and brother, Frankie, and the wonderful gift of their neighbor, Mateo, will have you in tears.
The family immigrates illegally from Ireland through Canada and settles in a NY tenament full of drug addicts – and an artist, Mateo who has AIDS. How they live those difficult first months in America and come to new life, is what frames the story.
Like Whale Rider and The Station Agent, this is one of the very very good ones. See it.
Here is my list of favorite films of 2003, in other words, my picks for best films – out of 77 that I saw.
Bend It like Beckham #7 pick
Bruce Almighty # 8 pick
Cold Mountain #6 pick
Dirty Pretty Things # 5 pick
Goodbye Lenin (Germany)
In this World
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King #3 pick
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl #4 pick
Station Agent #2 pick
Under the Tuscan Sun
Whale Rider – #1 pick