Hall Pass

Hall Pass is a typical Farrelly Brothers comedy, this time with equal parts gross and goofy gags and a howlarious cast.

There are chick flicks and there are guy flicks. This movie falls heavily into the latter category. Most guys will go through this movie with intermittent chuckles and occasional bouts of hysterics. Women won’t. Not only will they find this unfunny, some women may even find this offensive, in that female characters are mostly portrayed as objects of sexual gratification, while others are not given any more importance other than their home-making capacities.

From the scripting to the final production, this is a Farrelly Brother’s movie, through and through. There used to be a time when a Farrelly Brothers movie was all the rage. Although There’s Something About Mary and Dumb & Dumber were instant hits, these were overly enjoyed by the college going fraternity. When Stuck on You and Shallow Hall were released, the Farrellys were already loosing-out to a growing Jud Apataw audience. Apataw perfected the Farelly Brother’s slap-stick mechanism while refining sexual humour. As such, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Pineapple Express revamped the slap-stick agenda in comedy. But not if the Farrellys can help it, as it seems.

Rick and Fred are married men in their early forties. But being that men will always be men, they can’t help ogling over younger women. While they think they have an excuse for this, their wives Maggie and grace know better. As the story progresses, Rick and Fred’s mental fantasies are no match for their wives’ increasing annoyance, until the day they are each given a ‘Hall Pass’. As the title suggests, and exasperated by their husbands, Maggie and Grace allow their husbands one week of freedom from marriage in the assumption their spouses will be good as new after a week, while rejuvenating their marriage in the bargain. Wrong move. Let me say that before you start getting any ideas.

This rest of the movie is side-splitting comedy, for some. The rest will hate it. I, for one, found myself chuckling to the end, and then I had to roll on the floor gasping for breath. While Rick and Fred’s adventures begin on the first day of ‘freedom’, their not so fortunate buddies join in on the fun, which ultimately adds to the laughter factor.

From their perspective, Bobby and Peter Farrelly have thrown in some comic elements. As such, what really makes the movie lighter than it is are a couple of forty-something men trying to get back in the game, the unnerving clutches of their wives, their foolhardy frat-pack and for good measure, a nympho cougar and the slight case of a psychotic ex-boyfriend. While all these add to the laughter, the undeniable Farelly trademark is etched into the script. For some, this is could be a turn-off, but be prepared for some shocking, albeit, gross-out moments.

While umpteen other actors could have played the lead roles, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis do a decent job as men with haunting mojos. Although Wilson is predictable as Fred, Sudeikis is a welcome change and has the better one-liners between the two. Playing their nagging and ever watchful wives are Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate. Comparing the wives, Applegate’s Grace has some of the better scenes as Fred’s wife. Aside from these four, the film benefits from a huge line-up, including but not limited to Stephen Merchant, Larry Joe Campbell, Nicky Whelan and Derek Waters as a psycho with cameos from Alyssa Milano and Richard Jenkins.

Hall Pass can be compared to a lot of movies. By saying that, I don’t mean this film lacks originality; rather, it is more like American Pie for the older generation or The Hangover for married men. Now, and I say this again, you may find some repulsive moments, but if you take this film at face value, it’s all about having a few laughs, which you will find as you go along.

As with most comedies these days, wait for about 30 seconds once the end credits roll up for one last but ultra-hilarious scene, thanks to Stephen Merchant; the only British character in the movie. If you didn’t laugh through the movie, Merchant will do you in.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.