Hall Pass

(2011)

Genres: Comedy

Review: Hall Pass

Transcript for Review: Hall Pass

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Our first movie this week is "Hall Pass," the latest "comedy" -- and yes, I'm putting that word in quotes -- from the   Farrelly Brothers. Peter and Bobby Farrelly, as a writing-directing team, haven't made a truly, deeply, funny movie since  "There's Something About Mary?" And that was back in 1998. "Stuck on You" had its moments. But "Fever Pitch" never built up any real heat -- and I say that even as a Boston Red Sox fan. So now we have "Hall Pass," starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as a couple of  geeky, middle-aged suburban husbands who can't help checking out every sexy woman they see. Their wives, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, agree to give them the week off from being married, allowing them to work the wanderlust out of their systems.

Clip 2: "I got a hall pass."

CHRISTY:
This isn't nearly as easy as they think it's going to be, despite the help from a posse of friends who are also geeky, middle-aged and suburban.

Clip 1: "Are you sure Applebee's is the best place to meet girls?"

CHRISTY:
Meanwhile, the wives have a great time spending the week on Cape Cod and flirting with minor-league baseball players. But since the Farrellys have made them cliched nags, they have  complaints of their own.

Clip 3: "I Pretend to be asleep"

CHRISTY:
"Hall Pass" should build to a climax of madcap hilarity. Instead it's flat and episodic, filled with idiotic misunderstandings. It's just a slog through one failed hook-up attempt after another. This is a huge waste of the talents of Fischer and Applegate -- smart, likable actresses who are comfortable with raunchy comedy - when it's well-written, that is. Here's how bad things get: Even Richard Jenkins, with all his considerable skills, can't make this thing worthwhile. He shows up in an unexpected bit of casting that gives you hope -- but then he's stuck with the same uninspired dialogue as everyone else.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
You know it’s very raunchy and it relies on a lot of stereotypes that come from other comedies of its type, but on the other hand It has an underlying sweetness.  

CHRISTY:
Does it?

IGNATIY:
I think it does.  And I don’t think the wives are as two-dimensional as you’re making them out to be, especially not Jenna Fischer.

CHRISTY:
They withhold sex from their husbands as a weapon to gain power, it’s a total cliché.

IGNATIY:
But, at the same time, there’s something that balances that out, I mean Owen Wilson’s character is not as two-dimensional as he appears in the beginning of the film, I think he becomes significantly broader over time and they are also aware of their actions.  It’s not like she withholds sex from him and is completely unaware of it because that’s the way women are or something like that.

CHRISTY:
She pretends to be asleep!

IGNATIY:
But then she feels guilty about it.  I think there’s a lot more going on emotionally between the characters.  I think there’s a lot more depth to them then you’re giving the film for having.

CHRISTY:
But the depth that comes, the arc that you insist Owen Wilson has is so obvious…so there’s the Australian hottie who comes on to him and works at the coffee place…

IGNATIY:
Well, sure, it’s obvious!

CHRISTY:
When she comes on to him, you know I don’t want to give the secrets of the film away, but the big possible hook-up that happens…is this the sweetness that you’re referring to?

IGNATIY:
No, even the most scatological gags in this film, I don’t think are all that mean-spirited.  

CHRISTY:
The guy who, ok, I’m going to find a nice way to phrase this - he um, relieves himself in a sand trap at the golf course and then kicks sand up all over like he’s a kitty.

IGNATIY:
There’s something affectionate about that scene.

CHRISTY:
Oh, it’s a soft, furry kitty, nice, I’m sure…

IGNATIY:
Yes, it’s a soft, furry kitty.  I mean in the sense that you never feel like, you do always feel like you’re kind of laughing with the characters instead of laughing at them and they’re silly antics for being idiots.

CHRISTY:
I didn’t care wither way.  I didn’t laugh with or at…I didn’t want to laugh near them. I didn’t laugh.