Gently, after a four-year absence, the Farrelly brothers return to a comedy field they once dominated with sticky-sweet gross-outs like 1998's There's Something About Mary. And wouldn't you know it? They've become elder statesmen: Hall Pass, a largely sexless sex romp, has such a winning sense of middle-aged exhaustion to it that you might want to add a star or two, especially if you're familiar with the banalities of matrimonial bliss. Old pals Rick (Wilson, never before this relaxed) and Fred (Sudeikis) have cute homemakers by their sides (Fischer and Applegate) and seriously wandering eyes. Fed up with their committed but distracted men, the ladies let them off the leash for a whole week: a "hall pass" permitting them consequence-free infidelity.
Let the games begin? The sophisticated joke at the heart of coscreenwriter Pete Jones's original story---a good gag if not quite enough for an entire movie---is that these khaki-clad suburbanites love their routines more than they do the promise of strange ass. Days pass, marked by severe white-on-black title cards and that clanging Law & Order noise, as we see them scarfing the free bread sticks at Olive Garden and falling into carb comas ("Freddy's tie-tie," intones a yawning Sudeikis), conscientiously resisting the flirtations of babysitters and basically missing their wives. Hall Pass is a hilariously unnaughty movie; you know exactly where it's going. Desperately, it brings on too many sirens in its last act, and reaches back to the Farrellys' scatological roots with an explosive sneeze that's beyond gross. But mainly, the chemistry is nuanced and---et tu, Peter and Bobby?---safely mature.
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