Friday, June 25, 2004

Hey, it's Thursday, and it's trashy gross comedy reviews day!

‘Along Came Polly’
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are totally different. Girl is free spirit. Boy is uptight geek. Will boy and girl fall in love?
“Along Came Polly,” last winter’s surprise box office hit, stars Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston doing that age-old tale. It’s the kind of movie that raises a few chuckles without ever quite being truly memorable.
Stiller is Reuben Feffer, a “risk analyst” for an insurance company who is cuckolded by his wife on their honeymoon. Dejected, he meets an old high school friend, Polly (Aniston), who he begins dating. But Polly’s a swingin’ girl full of zest for life, while Reuben’s the kind of guy who calculates the risks and advantages of everything he does. Do they have a shot together?
While funny in spurts, “Polly,” written and directed by John Hamburg, has an amateurish quality. It lurches randomly from romantic comedy to gross-out humor. The gross bits have nothing to do with the rest of the movie, and they’re often just childishly lame.
Part of the problem is that we’re given no reason Polly would fall for a spaz like Reuben. No effort is made to make her more than a quirky stereotype. Aniston tries, but you can’t make gold out of a script written of lead. As for Stiller, he really needs to stop playing the same tightly wound control freak. Is there any real difference between Reuben or his “Meet The Parents” and “There’s Something About Mary” characters?
Frankly, it’s the supporting actors that make “Polly” more fun than it is — you’ve got Alec Baldwin as a gravel-voiced boss, Hank Azaria as a funny unintelligible Frenchman, and particularly, Philip Seymour Hoffman as a slob actor pal of Stiller’s.
Stiller and Aniston are talented, but this movie is just lowest common denominator time-waster. Underneath all the poop jokes, “Polly” is a kind of sweet comedy about a broken man finding new love. It’s a shame they didn’t try to play it without gross humor to drive the teens in, because it could’ve been a much better movie.
**1/2 of ****

Rude, energetic and unapologetically immature, “Eurotrip” is the kind of goofy teen comedy that sometimes is just what you’re in the mood for.
After high school senior Scotty (Scott Mechlowitz) is dumped by his girlfriend, he decides to head to Germany to meet his foreign female pen-pal. With his buddy Cooper (Jacob Pitt), and twins Jenny and Jamie (Travis Wester and Michelle Trachtenberg), the group encounter hi-jinks galore as they head from England to Germany, offending everyone in-between.
As teen sex comedies go, “Eurotrip” is fresh and not too vicious. Like the first “American Pie,” it helps to have good characters if you’re going to make a ditzy teen movie.
The teen actors are a pretty likable bunch, rather than a group of snotty anarchists. Mechlowitz comes off a bit like a young Tom Cruise, while Pitts is seriously channeling David Spade. They’re no young Brandos, but the cast makes the movie’s 90 minutes zip by.
Like “American Pie,” it’s a movie full of outrageous moments. A scene in a debauched Amsterdam sex shop is a funny squirm-inducing highlight.
We see French mimes, nude beaches, European trains and even the Pope all come in for healthy ridicule. “Eurotrip” makes fun of the wacky foreigners, but it’s pretty equal-opportunity bashing. The clueless Americans also come in for their share of the jokes.
It has no socially redeeming value, but not all movies need to, do they? If you’re feeling naughty, “Eurotrip” is a zippy little journey.
*** of ****

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