HALL PASS Review

I have never been the biggest fan of the Farrelly brothers and their distinct brand of pure gross out humor, but I have enjoyed enough of their work to know what to expect from a raunchy R-rated flick like "Hall Pass". It also doesn't hurt that they seem to like working with members of my favorite comedy troupe. After success with Ben Stiller and Jack Black it is nice to see the Farrelly's team up with Owen Wilson and give "SNL" player Jason Sudeikis a major role. Wilson returns to the raunchy material that his surfer drawl is best suited to, but uses this film as a stepping stone into a more mature role than the ones he played in movies like "Wedding Crashers". All of this led me to have great expectations for the film and though it isn't as consistently funny all the way through it's nearly two-hour run time, it has some big laugh out loud moments and weighs it's raunch out with some enough sentimental moments to easily recommend it.


I always enjoy a high concept comedy and "Hall Pass" is exactly that. Taking the idea of the ongoing battle between men and women and putting it on front street so that something is forced to be done is nothing if not engaging. The fact that the women in the film result to giving their husbands a free week to do whatever they please, to let them go and get out of their system what they seem to be missing out on by being married to them, is a great set-up, my only worry was that the movie wouldn't be able to deliver on that premise. And the verdict? It does, well, most of the time. Wilson and Sudeikis make an good comedic pair, Sudeikis playing Fred, an insurance salesman who thinks he gets away with checking other girls out without his wife (Christina Applegate) noticing and Wilson as Rick, a family man that from the beginning we know loves his wife and children too much to learn any hard lessons from his week off. What he does learn may come as a surprise though. You expect the Farrelly's to ditch the sentimental crap and go all out with the vulgarity and farcical elements of their story. In some sense you expected them to kind of slander marriage and tell you that it really is better to be single and free to do whatever you please, instead we are served a story of what is sex without love? What is life without meaningful relationships? It's nice to see the directors go for this, and though it isn't up to Apatow standards yet, they're getting better at it.

What I found most intriguing and funny about the film though is they guys whole mind set on everything. It is as if they know how out of the loop they are when it comes to picking up ladies these days, yet they still try and they do fail horribly. But that is of course what makes this so much fun to watch and in that is where the film really capitalizes on its humor. From watching Rick and Fred go to Applebee's as a hotspot to hook up or eat brownies with a special ingredient only leading to a round of unforgettable golf, the film does in fact follow through on how big of goobers they make these guys out to be from the beginning. Because, let's face it, being married to women who look like Applegate and Jenna Fischer is nothing to complain about (it is also a nice touch that their wives get prettier as the film progresses) and it is nice to see the women be challenged as well, that this wasn't only a test of marriage for the men, but for the other half of these relationships as well.

Though the film may never reach the mature level it seems to be reaching for in its last fifteen or so minutes, it still contains enough laughs and good comedic performances to be one of the comedy highlights so far this year (again, not that this is saying much seeing as we are at the end of February) but none the less, it deserves a passing grade. Let's hope this only leads to more starring roles for Sudeikis who plays the square/doucher stereotype to a T as well as letting comedy directors know to cast Richard Jenkins in more stuff. After this and "Step Brothers" I'm convinced I want to see this guy in everything. We all know he can do drama and is an incredible character actor, but the guy is also funny as hell and in his too brief role here, he steals every scene. Hey. Farrelly brothers, want to really return to your "Something About Mary" glory days? Then cast Jenkins in the lead for your next film.