Hall Pass is the newest comedy from the Farrelly Brothers, the minds behind movies like There’s Something About Mary and Shallow Hal. Staying true to their comedic roots, Hall Pass walks the line of morality while still finding space to fit in plenty of inappropriate sexual jokes and gross-out moments involving bathroom humor.
The title of the film explains the basic premise. Two middle aged married men, Rick and Fred (Wilson and Sudeikis), are given a “hall pass” granting them one week off from marriage. From there the boys get a motel room and immediately start hitting on anything with a pulse.
Overall the film is entertaining. There are a number of laugh-out-loud parts and as well as a number of cringe worthy scenes that are reminiscent of Michael Scott in the early episodes of The Office.
As the movie progressed I found myself genuinely caring about the main characters and feeling emotionally invested in their lives. But I have to wonder if, in a movie like this, is that a good thing? The real weakness I found in Hall Pass was that it spent almost thirty minutes of the intro getting me to care about Wilson’s character Rick and showing me that he is a great father and husband. By the time we get to the point where he has the hall pass and is exploring his freedom we don’t want him to use it at all. The message the movie tries to drive home is that one should appreciate what they have and that the grass right where one lives is green enough. It’s a fair enough message, but in this sexually charged comedy, does making that point lend itself to the funniest use of this premise?
I am an old school Farrelly brothers fan. I wanted this movie to be as funny as the best comedies out these days, but it just didn’t quite measure up. It’s good, and it’s definitely fun to watch, but something feels off watching guys try to sleep with random women, when we ultimately want them to grow up and stay with their wives. I feel like this premise would have been better with a cast like Vince Vaughn or Zack Galifianakis, who would go nuts once they had a week off from commitment.
The performances were decent. Sudeikis was my favorite playing the character who is initially much more excited about the idea of the week off, but Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate deserve mention as the two wives who both also inadvertently exercise hall passes of their own.
I so wanted Hall Pass to knock it out of the park. I grew up on Kingpin and other Farrelly Brothers films and I really want them to keep making movies like those early ones. Hall Pass is certainly a step up from The Heartbreak Kid but I didn’t even think it was as funny or as entertaining as Shallow Hal, and it’s certainly no Kingpin.
My advice on Hall Pass is to go in expecting some laughs and a decent, if slightly muddled plot and you won’t leave disappointed. However, if you go in expecting something as consistently funny as The Hangover or 40 Year Old Virgin, you’ll be disappointed.