Hall Pass

Film, Comedy
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Hall Pass
For 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.

By: David Jenkins


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday March 11 2011
Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Cast: Christina Applegate
Owen Wilson
Richard Jenkins
Alyssa Milano

Average User Rating

1.9 / 5

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A comedy without a single laugh (though some females tittered at the site of black cock - but that's about it!) is clearly a failure. BUT it had a "ok on Fri night on bbc 1 after Norton" vibe about it ... so no out & out stinker. Though Sudeikis won't be troubling the bill boards too much in the future! 5/10

Without quite finding the formula of some of the Farrelly's earlier work which although dumb was genuinely funny, this film is not without charms, not least the highly pulchitrudinous Ms Whelan, Wilson peddles his usual schtick which is still holding up relatively well and the film rolls along amusingly although implausibly. Merchant however is a total scene stealer and who would have thunk it, gangly, awkward and really a little odd looking but he is hilarious, his economy of delivery and his timing stands out for all the right reasons.