“Hall Pass” Gets Detention

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the film-making sibling duo, brings us a combination of wavering entertainment and a trail of everyday crudeness (because watching a guy poop in a sand trap is neither funny nor clever) with their latest flick, “Hall Pass”. The Farrelly brothers have become notorious for that type of humor, but is this type of humor still working for audiences?

“Hall Pass” stars Owen Wilson as Rick and Jason Sudeikis as Fred. Rick is a fairly happy man married with children to Maggie, played by Jenna Fischer. His best friend, Fred, shares the same attribute but his personality is more on the crazy end of the spectrum. Fred is married to Grace, played by Christina Applegate. Like many men, Rick and Fred can’t seem to keep their wandering eyes off attractive women or their minds off sex, which often gets them in trouble with their wives. Maggie and Grace are fed up with both their husbands’ immaturity and teenage hormones.

After discussing matters with a friend, they decide to give their husbands a “hall pass,” seven days to do whatever they want with whomever they want without suffering the consequences. After the pass is released, Rick and Fred are joined by their envious married buddies at Applebee’s to brainstorm where to go and who to seduce.

As  each day leads closer to day seven, we slowly watch the confidence of the two men begin to crumble as they realize that picking up women isn’t as easy as they once recalled.

While the guys try to remember how to be players, Maggie and Grace trigger their flirting skills without a problem. They head to the Cape and find a little action with a minor league baseball team in town with some hunky, talented men. As the movie continues, temptations do come along, followed by a bit of impulse, contemplation and soul searching.

The spotlight of the camera tends to follow Wilson and Sudeikis’s mission to bed a hot girl, which may trigger an abundance of laughter, but it is often more sentimental and engaging when the lenses are focused on the scenes of Fischer and Applegate, where they battle their own predicaments.

As you can probably guess, the movie gets pretty raunchy and over the top. The movie develops a tug-of-war between scenes of randomness, sentimentality, exaggeration and ridiculousness. At times, the randomness is tipped off by inappropriate images that force an awkward laugh out of the viewer. It is quite the arrangement, which seems to produce a sense of raw humor versus genuine humor.

During certain moments, the arbitrary humor in “Hall Pass” is reminiscent of the now infamous comedy “The Hangover.” Although, I guarantee you that the comparison of the humor between the two movies ranges on a whole different spectrum. While the random, crude details may have worked for “The Hangover,” it has the opposite effect and damages   “Hall Pass.”

The R-rated comedy seems to have bit off more than it could chew. Instead of savoring and tidying up what could have been one strong comedy, it lacked a happy medium. Scenes either feel dragged out or too much is happening at one moment, capped off by revealing a little too much. The Farrelly brothers pack in a string of drama, sex, action and romance all in the finale, with a result that just does not mesh together.

The movie lacks the romance and the lesson that should have been learned (but that could be based off of personal preference). The storyline fails to complete the circle because it is missing the sentimental intimacy between the couples. The moral of the story was replaced by dry, dumb humor. The last thing Fred says to Grace seems to make the purpose of the “hall pass” a total waste of time.

The cast does a decent job, with some performing better than others. The chemistry between Wilson and Sudeikis is what makes up the key elements to the humor in this film. All in all, “Hall Pass” still earns its title under the genre of comedy. Its vulgar and ridiculous humor will win the favorable votes among many who watch it, but it falls short of expectations.

Rating: 3/5 Stars