By Gary "Detention" Murray
Starring Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Jason Sudeikis, Stephen Merchant, Christina Applegate and J.B. Smoove
Written by Bobby & Peter Farrelly, Pete Jones and Kevin Barnett
Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
Running time 84 min
MPAA Rating R
Selig Film Rating
I love two of the Farley Brothers films. Those are There's something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber. The problem is that they've made a load of other flicks and the rest have been a serious waste of time and money, full of crude humor with no redeeming value. After a short break, the duo is back with Hall Pass.
The story is of Rick (Owen Wilson) and Maggie (Jenna Fischer), a married couple with three kids who are hurling toward the traditional middle-aged rut. When Maggie catches Rick checking out a young woman, she rolls her eyes and tells her girlfriend Grace (Christina Applegate). Grace knows that her husband Fred (Jason Sudeikis) does the same thing.
When talking to their neighbor and new author (an awful mugging performance by Joy Behar), she tells the two woman that she gave her husband a 'hall pass', a week off of marriage, which cleared-up his roving eye. The idea is that the men will find out how hard being single actually is and will run back to their wives. After some considerations, the women offer the idea to the men.
The story is of the week of the hall pass. Rick and Fred soon find out that having the freedom of living single and middle-aged is not the greatest combination in the world. Being out of the dating loop for almost two decades has dulled their edge. delivering lame lines to lovely ladies. The buddies of the two decide to go along for the ride, just to live the life vicariously. They eat too much, drink too much and strike out too often, all while living in a dumpy hotel room.
The girls go to the coast to let their men play. They also meet up with a college baseball team, partying with the players and their coach. The two find that playing the field for a week is a bit of fun, dancing and flirting with different men.
Rick tries to catch the eye of the Aussie girl at the coffee shop. Every time he tries to connect with her, a fellow employee cuts him down, showing Rick just how silly it looks. Fred just wants to find somebody to be with, raising the embarrassment factor.
Rick and Fred keep trying to connect with their buddy Coakley (Richard Jenkins) who is a master with being single and with scoping out women. The scene where he scouts for his buddies is just classic comedy.
Everyone knows just exactly all the couples will end-up by the end of Hall Pass. It is the journey of discovery that drives the film, not the destination.
Owen Wilson is just not aging very well. His once rough boyish looks have slowly turned into middle age pooch. While he can still deliver the funny, it is becoming harder and harder to imagine him as a romantic lead. He needs to morph into a character actor and away from leading man status. He still lay down lines with that charm, but the youth is off the bloom.
Jason Sudeikis just owns every scene he is in. His timing impeccable, nailing each one-liner to the wall. He saves this film over and over again with outrageous antics and slow-burn takes that are just comic gold. This is a film that should put him on the comedic map and launch his film career. His explanation of 'fake chow' gets the biggest of the entire piece.
Christina Applegate gives it her all, showing that she can still lay down the comedy with the big boys. This second banana role, in her hands, becomes a top level comic gem. She just stands out as the best buddy who realizes that the hall pass can work both ways. Charming and deadly funny is a winning combination.
This being a Farrelly Brothers feature, it is a very adult enterprise. There are naked breasts and exposed penises all over the screen. We get bowel movements with explosive results more than once. It is crude and foul, earning its R rating. While some of the bits are funny, others are just disgusting. If one is easily offended, this is definitely not the movie for you.
Where does this film rate on the Farrelly scale? It is not as endearing as There's Something About Mary and it is not a mean spirited as Shallow Hal. It is also not as stupid as Me, Myself & Irene and Stuck on You. I'd put it along the lines of King Pin. It is not a bad film but not a great flick Okay but just not an impressive work.