Picks and Pans Review: Along Came Polly

updated 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

COMEDY

Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston

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After opening a slew of Oscar hopefuls during the final months of 2003, Hollywood is now dumping into multiplexes what might be called its Oscar nopefuls. These are dinky, dopey films like Along Came Polly that are to Citizen Kane what a mud puddle is to the Atlantic Ocean.

Formulaic in the extreme, Polly features a straitlaced guy (Stiller) whose world gets all shook up when he starts dating a wacky gal (Aniston). She's a free spirit who makes him eat spicy foods (cue the toilet jokes), go salsa dancing and gobble goobers out of a common bowl at a bar. One doesn't believe for a second that this painfully mismatched duo would ever go on a second date, much less fall in love. Stiller fails to inject even an ounce of charm into his uptight character. Aniston, while likable, has no more than the bare outline of a character to play, leaving her flailing to flesh it out.(PG-13)

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