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Friday, February 25, 2011

Movie Review: HALL PASS


Hall Pass is a 2011 comedy directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly. It centers around two married men, Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis), who are given a "hall pass" by their wives, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate), respectively. This pass essentially gives them a week off from marriage, allowing them the opportunity to cheat on their spouses if they so choose. The decision to give the men free reign stems from their obsession with sex, and the two women think that, if they can just get it out of their system, their marriages will ultimately end up much stronger. So, the two men spend six days doing whatever they can to get some action, but they quickly realize that they might be quite a bit out of practice from their "glory days" back in college.

I'd like to start by saying that I didn't have much in terms of expectations going into the theater (my triumphant return to the cinema after a twenty-nine day hiatus as a result of constant sickness). Sadly, my choice of film was not as triumphant, but considering the rest of the drivel currently holding serve at my local theaters, I probably wouldn't have fared much better with another choice. But I digress. I went into Hall Pass not expecting much, and "not much" is exactly what was delivered.

The basic story is about as cliché and predictable as you can imagine. You know from minute one how Rick and Fred are going to handle their new-found freedom, and at the same time, you can see exactly how Maggie and Grace are going to react. It's like getting on a plane. Let's say, for example, you're taking off from Los Angeles and will be landing in New York. Although there may be a few bumps along the road - or, in the air, I should say - you can be pretty sure you're going to end up in New York. Landing in Miami would be a twist in your plans, right? That's exactly how Hall Pass felt. You know your final destination from the opening credits, so it all comes down to the ride to get there.

Unfortunately, the ride isn't all that pleasant. It's not that it's overly terrible; it's just a little dull. The jokes aren't very fresh, and although I chuckled a time or two, there's no point where you'll be rolling with laughter. Not one, single moment. In addition, the amount of raunch is juvenile at best. Some films have handled raunchiness very well (see: 2005's Wedding Crashers or 2009's The Hangover). But Hall Pass's gags were just downright lame, and the laughs simply weren't there.

I don't really blame the actors in the film for the travesty they've created because I'm sure a lot of it has to do with a particularly bad screenplay. That being said, Owen Wilson has done much better work. This is his first film since 2008's Marley & Me, and it's not really resounding very strongly. Sudeikis has a couple of moments, but it's nothing close to making the movie worthwhile. We do get a couple of decent cameos from the likes of Joy Behar (from TV's "The View"), Alyssa Milano, Richard Jenkins, and Kathy Griffin. And there's even a certain amazing stand-up comedian named Bo Burnham for those of you looking closely, but he's not given any reign whatsoever. I was a tad disappointed with that.

Overall, this movie is probably a must-miss. You're not really getting anything entertaining out of it aside from the random cameos which aren't spectacular anyways. The film is just too dumb to be funny, but it's too unfunny to be entertaining. However, if there is one reason to go see Hall Pass, it would be the opportunity to see the new teaser trailer for The Hangover: Part II. ...oh wait, what's that? It's already on YouTube? Well, considering you can find it there - and directly below because I felt like embedding it - there's really no reason to waste your money on Hall Pass. Just kiss your wife and live with the fact that you're married and be happy. That's basically the moral of the story.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: F
1.5 Thumbs Down

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