Hall Pass (15)
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Time Out says
Tue Mar 8 2011For those poor souls who weren’t already in the know, a ‘hall pass’ is the nonsense conceit dreamed up by the Farrelly brothers that partially releases a pair of shambling, sex-mad soccer dads (Jason Sudeikis, Owen Wilson ) from the shackles of marriage, allowing them to sow their wild oats once more. Fed up with their unruly husbands’ incessant girl-ogling and foul-mouthed hypothetical sex chats, Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate let them off the marital leash for a week as a sly test to see if, given the opportunity, they would play away. And so we get the usual string of hackneyed and largely laugh-free set-ups involving vulgar chat-up lines, hash brownies and a mad, jealous guy with a crowbar, all seemingly purpose-honed to appeal to devotees of ‘The Hangover’. Of course, it descends into trite sentiment when all this laboured tom-catting makes the guys realise that, hell, they do love their wives.
As with 2007’s ‘The Heartbreak Kid’, ‘Hall Pass’ could be seen as another attempt by the Farrellys to inject some vague, sub-Woody Allen intellectual rigour into their work, attempting as it does a skewed take of the (reverse) psychology of married life. But frankly, they were cleverer when they were making films for five year olds like ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’. The saving grace is a very amusing supporting role for Stephen Merchant as the obligatory nerdy member of this group of wannabe libertines. In fact, the most baffling thing here is that the Farrellys have chosen to keep their A-material for a hilarious post-credit sketch that posits what would happen if Merchant’s character had been given a hall pass. It’s so good, it makes you think they may have made the wrong movie.
Author: David Jenkins