Movie Review: Hall Pass [2011]

Hall Pass [2011]

Hall Pass [2011]
Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Genre: Comedy
Language: English
Country: USA

Hall Pass is the latest comedy from the Farrelly Brothers, and it is arguably their best effort in at least a decade (though that isn’t saying too much). The movie stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as middle-aged husbands who are given a “hall pass” — a one week anything-goes reprieve from marriage — by their wives, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, respectively. This seems like a dream come true for the fellas, but of course things don’t turn out quite as they envisioned.

For one, after being out of “the game” for 20some years, the guys have no idea how to approach new women. Their first plan for finding a one night stand is to go to Applebee’s. Later, at an actual night club, they attempt a series of terrible pickup lines (“Are you from Ireland? ‘Cause my penis is Dublin.”) all the while believing they will work. These guys are clueless, and their awkwardness leads to some of the funniest moments of the film.

Hall Pass [2011]

Being an R-rated Farrelly Brothers feature, one would expect raunchiness. There is at least one diarrhea scene, a couple of obligatory and unnecessary penis shots, and a number of dick jokes. On paper, this sounds worse than it actually is, or perhaps I am just becoming desensitized to mainstream American comedies? The point is, this is not for the easily offended.

Wilson and Sudeikis are decent enough in their leading roles, and have enough chemistry to help maintain interest in their characters. These guys are awkward and are also your stereotypical sex-starved males, but they still manage to be likable. I wasn’t impressed with their wives, however. Applegate is solid, but Fischer seems horribly miscast and out of place in the movie. At first, she does well playing someone akin to her character on The Office, but all of a sudden she becomes ridiculously tan and struggles to fit in. It’s a bizarre development, really.

Hall Pass [2011]

The main guys have an entertaining array of friends — J.B. Smoove, Larry Joe Campbell, Stephen Merchant, and later, the great Richard Jenkins — but their appearances are all too short, unfortunately.

Although Hall Pass doesn’t really try anything new and becomes more predictable than I would like, it’s still not a bad comedy at all. The concept is interesting enough, and Wilson and Sudeikis are enjoyable in their roles. I’m not sure how much gas the Farrelly Brothers have left in the tank, but this shows that they are still capable of providing an entertaining enough 98 minutes.


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