Friday, February 25, 2011

Hall Pass

A week without marital rules is a recipe for 90 minutes with only a few laughs. Made for farrelly brothers fans will get a kick out of, but not many other people will.

Rated R

for crude and sexual humor throughout, language, some graphic nudity and drug use.

Hall Pass

The Farrelly brothers are obsessed with making movies about shallow males who act more like giant manbabies than actual human beings. Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Shallow Hal, all full of men who act like 14 year-olds. “Hall Pass” is no different. Again we’re faced with two leads that have not grasped the concept of reality. Here Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are convinced that if it wasn’t for their marriages they’d be picking up chicks left and right. Their wives played by Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer are sick of their childish behavior, so at the behest of their friend who’s a shrink they decide to give their husbands a “hall pass.”

This means that for an entire week Rick and Fred, two suburbanites who’ve been completely cut off from the dating world for years, have now been thrust back into the world unencumbered by their burdensome marriages. Pretty much everything about Hall Pass requires supreme suspension of disbelief. First of all we’re supposed to believe that Rick and Fred were somehow able to land Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate as spouses. Second, we’re supposed to swallow the fact that they’d rather be messing around with other women. Third we’re made to believe that this is actually a good and healthy idea to strengthen one’s marriage.

So, the hall pass week begins. Rick and Fred head on over to the nearest Applebee’s to meet some hotties. It’s then they realize that this isn’t going to be as easy as they thought it was going to be. It is funny watching Rick and Fred flounder around parties and nightclubs trying to pick up on young twenty-somethings that won’t even give them the time of day. Maybe they aren’t the ladies men they’ve made themselves out to be. But, then the Farrelly brothers regress to their old tricks and stick in scenes like guys eating pot brownies and getting into shenanigans on the golf course.

This is a hard R-rated raunchy comedy, which the Farrelly brothers have been making for quite a long time. With There’s Something About Mary the brothers created a surreal comedy about a bunch of numbskulls who were infatuated with one girl. It was funny. It’s still funny. The idea, however, has worn thin. Hall Pass isn’t that different. It’s got the Farrellys written all over it from the gross-out conversations to the seemingly indispensable side character that suddenly jumps into the picture as a homicidal maniac.

I did laugh, quite often, during Hall Pass. It’s got some witty, bizarre scenes including a scene where Rick and Fred are overheard, via video cameras, making fun of their rich friend and his wife. There’s some genuinely comedic material in here, but in the end the movie becomes way too preachy for its own good. We know that Rick and Fred are going to have a revelation about their marriages. It’s a given.

The movie also cuts back and forth between what the guys are doing and what their wives are up to. The scenes with Fischer and Applegate are dreadfully dull, and only serve to stop the movie dead in its tracks.

The Farrellys know how to craft a decent comedy, but this isn’t something you haven’t seen from them before. Slightly different gimmick, same juvenile characters, but if that’s what you’re looking for then Hall Pass has got you covered.

2 1/2 out of 5

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