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Film / Along Came Polly

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Along Came Polly is a 2004 rom com film starring written and directed by John Hamburg and starring Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Debra Messing, Hank Azaria and Alec Baldwin.

The film follows Reuben Feffer (Stiller), a man fresh out of a marriage to an unfaithful bride, saddled with the mortgage on the house he bought for her to start their family. Attempting to rebuild his former life, Reuben joins his best friend at an art gallery where he meets his former classmate Polly Prince (Aniston). Reuben and Polly soon start dating, and the film follows their mismatched romance.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Polly finds a "list" in Reuben's computer comparing her and his ex-fiance. Much like what occurred between Ross and Rachel in an episode of Friends.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Reuben finally gives Lisa a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that has been brewing the entire movie, he ends on the fact that he destroyed all of her throw pillows because of how pointless they are.
  • Bad Date: Reuben and Polly's date to a Moroccan restaurant doesn't go well for Reuben because of the food causing his irritable bowel syndrome to flare up.
  • Betty and Veronica: When Lisa comes back into the picture, she becomes the Betty to Polly's Veronica.
  • "The Breakfast Club" Poster Homage: The poster that is shown of Sandy's movie Crocodile Tears is a mock-up of The Breakfast Club's poster. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" even plays when the poster is shown.
  • Commitment Issues: Lisa had issues with marriage hence bolting.
  • Easily Forgiven: When Reuben meets Claude again, he bears the guy no ill will despite the role Claude played in the breakdown of his relationship with Lisa.
    • Possibly subverted that when Reuben finally decides to be up for scuba he tells Claude he’s doing it with somebody else. Whether this is an innocent response or a subtle revenge is unknown.
  • Foreign Queasine: Downplayed. Reuben is uncomfortable eating Moroccan food for the first time, but that's mostly because of a combination of his IBS flaring up and Polly's messy eating. Once he's more comfortable around Polly he tries out different cuisines, even spicy ones, to the surprise of his mother.
  • Former Child Star: Sandy starred in Crocodile Tears a long time ago and he refuses to let go of his former fame, being in absolute denial about his current Future Loser status.
  • Horrible Honeymoon: The movie starts with Reuben catching his new wife Lisa cheating on him with a scuba instructor while they're on their honeymoon, which puts an end to the marriage pretty fast. Luckily it works out in the end, as Reuben ends up reconnecting with Polly and gets into a much happier relationship with her. While vacationing with Polly on the same island he had his disastrous honeymoon, Reuben even thanks the scuba instructor for showing him what Lisa was really like.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Reuben calls out Polly's dance friend from the salsa club, thinking he's hitting on her. Turns out he's gay.
  • Intimate Open Shirt: While getting ready for sex, Reuben undoes three buttons on his shirt...then hurriedly does one button back up. Later before performing a salsa dance for Polly, he unbuttons his shirt to evoke this.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Polly offers Reuben a snack. He says "I actually like this". Cut to him throwing up in the toilet.
  • It's All About Me: Sandy when it comes to a community theatre production.
  • Kinky Spanking: Discussed, invoked, and deconstructed. Sandy claims that he often enjoys gently slapping women on the ass while making out with them, and suggests that Reuben try it with Polly. She doesn't appreciate it.
  • Latin Lover: Reuben gets jealous when Polly dances with a studly Cuban guy - it's okay though, he's gay.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: A metaphorical gender-flipped example. Reuben's dress sense and attitude becomes more relaxed as he stops overthinking things and lets himself enjoy life.
  • Love Triangle: Reuben, Polly, and Lisa.
  • The Makeover: A subtle example. Reuben typically wears his shirts with only one button undone. To show he's relaxing more around Polly, he unbuttons a second button before his salsa dance with her.
  • Male Gaze: While Polly and Reuben are making out before they have sex for the first time, the camera lingers on Jennifer Aniston's butt for a good long while.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Polly, although a slightly sedate version.
  • Opposites Attract: The film is a love story about Reuben, who has been buttoned up his whole life, and Polly, who is a free spirit.
  • Percussive Therapy: After Reuben admits the mountain of throw pillows on his bed were Lisa's idea, Polly fetches a knife from the kitchen and encourages him to destroy them. He starts stabbing away and letting out his frustration about Lisa. Unfortunately he gets carried away and stabs the mattress underneath by mistake.
  • Plot-Inciting Infidelity: Reuben catching Lisa in bed with another man on their honeymoon kicks off the movie's main story.
  • Potty Emergency: Reuben has IBS. Polly takes him to an Moroccan restaurant. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Quiet One: Reuben's father spends most of the film silently glaring at everyone. He speaks exactly once and it's treated as a momentous occasion.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After letting his anger percolate for the entire movie, Rueben rips Lisa a new one for cheating on him on their honeymoon instead of just talking to him about her insecurities, the audacity of thinking that she still had a place with him after what she did, and the stupidity of her throw pillows.
    • Reuben's dad gives one to Sandy after he tries to hijack the lead role in a community theater production of Jesus Christ Superstar (He was playing Judas). Unlike Lisa who we never see later on Sandy completly deflates his ego.
  • Runaway Bride: Well at least Lisa waited until the honeymoon...
  • Secret Other Family: Polly's father had a second family that he kept secret from her and her mother. She learned this as a teenager and it's put her off the idea of getting married.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Sandy played a supporting role in one hit movie and has been trying to coast on it to little or no success. He snaps out of it after Rueben’s dad gives him a Reason You Suck Speech.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Stanley mutters to himself and tries to keep himself out of everyone's eye line when it looks like Sandy is going to blow his impromptu presentation to the board.
  • Translation by Volume: When Reuben and Polly first meet Reuben's parents at an Indian restaurant, she asks the Asian waiter in a rather condescending fashion: "Hi, need big table please - four people - many thanks" with the waiter responding in a bewildered fashion (and American accent) "okay".
  • The Unfair Sex: Completely inverted. Lisa's infidelity is treated as reprehensible by both the movie and the characters in it while Claude is - according to Wordof God - supposed to be a likable Nice Guy despite meeting Reuben a newlywed man on honeymoon with his wife who he adores then having sex with her and getting her to leave her husband the same day.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: As part of the Opposites Attract narrative. It serves as the page image for a reason.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Polly is beyond offended when she sees that Reuben created an actuarial table analyzing her and her habits because it dehumanizes and devalues her.