Hall Pass Theatrical Review
There are a few films that have come out in the past 2 years that have tried to recreate the magic of The Hangover and unfortunately none of them have really succeeded in doing it. Now another film comes along that promises the same kind of hi-jinks. The movie is Hall Pass, starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate.
Wilson and Sudeikis start as Rick and Fred, two best friends who have a lot in common; specifically they are both obsessed with sex. Their wives, played by Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer, are reaching the end of their proverbial ropes when it comes to their husband's obsession with sex. Things really hit the fan when the quartet attends a party at a friend's house and both men are caught on camera having an extremely lewd discussion.
Both wives come up with the idea to give each husband a "hall pass" which means a week off from marriages to do whatever they like with whomever they like, no questions asked. Of course both Rick and Fred are overjoyed at this idea but having been married for a long time their initial foray into the dating world finds them at the local Applebee's hoping to meet some wild young women. After their first attempt is a total failure they find themselves at a nightclub, meeting a man named Coakley, played by Richard Jenkins, who has all the answers when it comes to picking up women, regardless of the fact that he is over sixty in a club full of twenty-year olds.
More chaos ensues when the boy's friends get involved in their week of freedom, when one day they are at the golf course and someone shows up with "special" brownies. Naturally everyone spends the rest of the day feeling groovy and laughing at everything around them. As time passes though both Rick and Fred realize that not only do they have a misconception of how the dating world works compared to the idea in their heads, but they realize that they miss their wives and the life they have with them. These last minute epiphanies aren't that surprising in a movie like Hall Pass. What is surprising is the direction of the movie and the type of comedy employed here.
The film is directed by the Farrelly brothers who some of you know also directed Something about Mary and Me, Myself and Irene. Knowing those movies you can expect a lot of the same type of humor in this film. Why it doesn't work is because it's the same formula that is employed in every other film they do. There are a lot of extremely vulgar jokes, with gross out physical humor combined with bodily fluids. For the Farrelly's to continue to employ the same formula here shows that they haven't grown much as directors. The other problem here is the main characters themselves; both are fabrications of how men are in their marriages. The movie seems to insist they any married man is unhappy with his life and should seek fun somewhere else.
Anyone who is a part of the dating world today or even has a normal level of common sense would realize that the way these two men think is much farther away from the reality of today. The film will probably do well in its first weekend thanks to a good trailer which contains all of the funniest scenes in the film. But it won't have the lasting effect that a movie like The Hangover will, mainly because it lacks one main ingredient: humor.
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 98 minutes
Distributed By: New Line Cinema
Read More Reviews For Hall Pass
- Eric English (C) (Blu-ray Review)
About Chris Rebholz
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