Hall Pass Directed by: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly Cast: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate Running Time: 1 hr 45 mins Rating: R Release Date: February 25, 2011
PLOT: Two married men (Wilson and Sudeikis) are given a "hall pass" from their wives (Gischer and Applegate). They get one week of marriage freedom to do whatever they want.
WHO'S IT FOR? Wives, if you think your guy is staring down every woman he passes by, and needs a wakeup call or sorts, send him to Hall Pass. If you are married, you'll definitely laugh a little bit more.
EXPECTATIONS: Rated R can help with comedies. Just check out Going the Distance. Speaking of, Sudeikis and Applegate killed in that movie. With Wilson added to the group I did have hopes for this one.
ACTORS: Owen Wilson as Rick: After How Do You Know I thought Wilson found his groove again, even though no one really saw it. When he's cocky and over-analyzes situations it's a great combo. Here, as Rick, he's thoughtful and kind of a dweeb. It's like we're watching Ray Romano on this "adventure." I never once believed Rick would want a hall pass. Doesn't that defeat a lot of this film's purpose? Score: 5
Jason Sudeikis as Fred: Fred has a filthy mouth that remains funny for at least the first half of the movie. Fred talks a big game and has a theory about everything. It's perfectly summed up in the beginning when he gives Rick his ways for checking out women (stare at one stop, let them walk through it). The problem is that the film eventually makes Fred out to be stupid instead of just an ass. Score: 6
Jenna Fischer as Maggie: I love Pam on "The Office," or maybe I used to. Fischer has also done some funny film work. Here, I just never "felt" her character. At one point she says "I wanted to feel wanted," but she was from what I saw. It really seemed as though she was handed her line immediately before it was filmed. There's no warmth or humor here. Score: 3
Nicky Whelan as Leigh: Yes, Whelan is hot. I get that. I got that when she was on "Scrubs: the year we don't really count." But please explain why she would show any interest in Rick. Oh wait ... it's because men wrote this film. Got it. Nice boobs, thanks for showing them. Let's move on. Score: 4
Rest of Cast: Applegate didn't nail this one, but I don't blame her. Richard Jenkins shows up as Coakley. He's super tan, single, has a little back hair showing, and wears a lot of necklaces. He's also insanely respected as a womanizer by the guys in this film. I get this as an initial joke, but I don't get it after that. The film definitely could have used more JB Smooth and Stephen Merchant as friends who barely tag along. Merchant actually has one of the film's funniest moments after the credits roll. Score: 6
TALKING: While there are plenty of laugh out loud moments, there is also a painful pattern. They'll say a term, like "fake chow." They'll pause, and then repeat it. The other guy will ask, "What's that?" Then the other guy will define it. It saps the spontaneity right out of the script. It's just not how people talk, so it feels like a comedic bit instead of real life turned funny. Also, this movie might be going after Ruby for the record of "How many times can we say the title of the movie?" WE UNDERSTAND WHAT A HALL PASS IS, OK? Score: 6
SIGHTS: Penises, poop and boobs. The shock jokes don't hit, especially compared to the quick conversations with guy talk. Also, let's examine Rick's outfit in one scene. He purposely goes to a coffee house to flirt with the insanely hot, young barista known as Leigh. He's wearing a Harvard t-shirt tucked in, a belt and pleated khaki pants. His nerdom isn't supposed to be the focus, is it? Score: 4
SOUNDS: The masturbating moment could have used a different power ballad. The "Snow Patrol" reference is a funny one when Rick confuses it with Snow Dogs. The musical score is guitar driven pop and it's good until we get to "serious" moments. The cheese is cranked up. The "Law and Order" theme song is played once for a good laugh. The other six times ... not so much. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: It's probably the two guys hanging out in a mansion, while their friends eavesdrop from a safe room. It's juvenile guy talk and a typical "Three's Company" situation but Wilson and Sudeikis make it fun.
ENDING: Um, some "real" moments/emotions seemed to come out of nowhere with the ladies in this film, but then they just get glossed over.
QUESTIONS: The women weren't on a hall pass, right? I mean, this can't be something that is just assumed. Also, Rick would just like to have sex with his wife, right? And why does the film waste six days of hall pass on stuff that has almost nothing to do with the supposed purpose? Why is Alyssa Milano in this film for three minutes? Do these people have jobs that require time?
REWATCHABILITY: I could sit through the first half of this film no problem, then change the channel.
Like most comedies, the Farrelly brothers had an idea with Hall Pass. They also had a couple of great typical guy conversations lined up and ready to go. Then they simply ran out of material. I genuinely laughed a lot, but they also wanted a story ... even though they didn't have one. So they wasted our time with eating, golfing on pot, sleeping in a hot tub, asking for a massage ... nothing that has to do with a hall pass. Some of these things are amusing, some just take up time. But don't worry, there are gross things too! I ask you, does poop and penis simply have to show up to get a laugh?
Then, after all of this, we finally get to the conflict, and it's a weird guy (Derek Waters) who works at a coffee shop. Plus, the women are making some really odd decisions. It's the kind of plot that falls apart if the couples simply talk to one another, or occasionally (yes, only occasionally) have sex with their partner.
Look, I don't want a Hall Pass, but I do want a movie called Hall Pass to be about a Hall Pass. The actual attempt of Hall Pass barely happens in this film called Hall Pass. I still need to say Hall Pass 247 more times to equal the amount they say it in the film ... called ... Hall Pass.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10