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Movie Review: Hall Pass

Films opening this weekend:
Casino Jack - North Park Dipson - REVIEW
Drive Angry - Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Quaker, Hollywood Regals
Hall Pass - Maple Ridge; Transit, Elmwood, Galleria, Quaker, Hollywood Regals; Flix

It’s a shame that Peter and Bobby Farrelly never realized their time had come and gone by 1998 with Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary—you don’t get much better in the stupid comedy field than that trio. But the brothers try once more with Hall Pass, which features two likable leads in Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis.

This schizophrenic mishmash of stylings is never sure of what it really wants to be. Starting out cutesy with an edge, the movie begins to hit its stride, but once the filmmakers cue the exploding farts and male genitalia, all cohesion flies out the window.

The film starts with Wilson’s Rick reminiscing about the glory days he enjoyed before adult responsibility, and his wife Maggie (Jenna Fischer), took over. While Maggie and Grace (Christina Applegate) nestle into the suburban rut before them, the husbands—Rick and Sudeikis’s Fred—can't deny their needs to check out any warm-blooded female that happens to enter their line of sight.

These two are pigs, no question, but they aren’t bad enough to warrant drastic measures until their lewd behavior is caught by security cameras and screened for a horrified audience of family and friends. It’s the last straw, and Maggie decides to give her husband a week off from marriage.

True, the "hall pass" device is ripe for comedy, and there are some big laughs. But soon, the Farrellys' brand of humor takes control, and everything falls apart as Hall Pass becomes less about the comedy and more about marital strife.

It’s weird badmouthing a film that truly made me laugh—a lot—but looking back, I can barely recall which scenes worked. Sudeikis is the strongest of the leads, taking his "everyman" sensibilities and making them hilarious. Wilson does his best, but is stuck being the straight man, much like Fischer to Applegate, who is a ton of fun as the bored housewife latching on to a younger man. None of this is quite enough for me to recommend that you see the film in the theaters, but there are some pleasurable moments.

Hall Pass 5/10 | ★ ★

[1] (L-R) OWEN WILSON as Rick, JENNA FISCHER as Maggie, JASON SUDEIKIS as Fred and CHRISTINA APPLEGATE as Grace in New Line Cinema's comedy "HALL PASS," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Peter Iovino
[2] (L-R) JASON SUDEIKIS as Fred, RICHARD JENKINS as Coakley and OWEN WILSON as Rick in New Line Cinema's comedy "HALL PASS," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Peter Iovino

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