Directed by John Hamburg, starring Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hofffman, Alec Baldwin, Debra Messing, Hank Azaria and Bryan Brown.

Some would say life should be all about taking chances. Not Reuben Feffer (Stiller). A risk analyst with a big insurance corporation, Reuben's working day involves calculating whether CEOs will drop dead any time soon, while his every waking minute is consumed with fears about his own safety and health. Somehow, he has managed to find someone (Messing) willing to marry him.

But wedded bliss evaporates on the first day of the honeymoon when Reuben catches his new bride with a scuba diving instructor (Azaria) and returns to the US alone. Once home, he finds out that his boss (Baldwin) and best friend Sandy Lyle (Hoffman) reckoned he should never have married her, anyway.

Depressed that someone whose world is all about getting things right could get it so wrong, Reuben is not-so-tactfully dragged out of his depression by Sandy, who brings him to an art opening. And it's there he runs into Polly Prince (Aniston), a former schoolmate turned free spirit who is currently single - and about to let Reuben's life begin again.

As 'There's Something About Mary' and 'Meet the Parents' showed, Stiller is a master at humiliation comedy - the put-upon face, the 'stop digging' situations, the ability to never look cool - and 'Along Came Polly' serves it up in dollops. Directed and written by 'Meet the Parents' scribe John Hamburg, '...Polly' isn't as laugh filled as that movie and limps a little to the close, but its first half-hour ranks up there with the best. No matter how much of an idiot you feel you've ever made of yourself, don't worry: this film will give you hope.

For Aniston this is more of a straight role and her one running gag involving a pet ferret deserved to be put down in the editing suite. In its place should've been more scenes involving Baldwin and Seymour Hoffman. Baldwin's brilliance at delivering a one-liner says he has been overlooked for comedy for way too long while Hoffman's turn as a deluded former teenage movie star, now reduced to playing Judas in a community theatre production of 'Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat', deserved its own film.

It's rare you say it, but hopefully there'll be a sequel.

Harry Guerin