Bobby and Peter Farrelly’s
Hall Pass blows the lid off of this not-so-well-kept secret
- that men like looking at attractive women. Even men who are
in completely, blissfully happy in love with their wives can be
total dogs when a hot woman walks past. What of it?
The movie also drops the
not-exactly-shocking knowledge that left to their own devices
women are much more likely to score with strange men than the
other way around. Who’d’ve thunk it?
The Farrellys’ career has been
on a constant downward spiral in the twelve years since their
masterpiece There’s Something About Mary. (Well, that
is using the term “masterpiece” rather charitably, but it is
their finest moment as filmmakers and not coincidentally is also
by far their biggest hit). It has been several years now since
the Farrelly had to cede the title of Kings of Dumb comedies to
During that time, the
Farrellys’ have been serving up the warmed over likes of
Shallow Hal, Osmosis Jones, Stuck on You, Me Myself & Irene
and the awful remake of The Heartbreak
So the good news is that
Hall Pass actually is the Farrelly Brothers’ best movie
The bad news is that it still
isn’t all that good.
Still, Hall Pass does
have some rather good moments – which is better than
many of the above listed films can say.
derives from an exceedingly simple
premise. Two long-married suburban husbands (Owen Wilson and
Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis) are essentially
extremely content in their domestic situations, but they just
can’t help themselves when it comes to checking out women and
talking about sex. To teach them a lesson, their wives (Jenna
Fisher and Christina Applegate) decide to give them a week of
complete no-questions-asked sexual freedom – assuming that the
guys have been off the market for so long that they would not
have any idea how to approach a woman, much less score with
And in the world of the movie,
the wives are right. The guys are lost from the start, making
their first stop the local Applebee’s. I know it’s supposed to
be a joke and all, but it just demeans the characters. No man
- no matter how swaddled (or whipped) in domestic bliss he might
be - could ever be so far out of touch that he would think the
Applebee’s is a good pick-up joint.
In the meantime, the ladies go off to a Cape Cod resort and get
hit on by lots of young ball players.
After days of the guys not even
trying to meet women, they finally hook up with their legendary
womanizer of a friend who turns out to be kind of a pathetic
middle-aged lothario (a slumming Richard Jenkins). He helps
Sudeikis to get some opportunities that all seem to go
awry. Particularly uncalled for was a scene in a hotel bathroom.
I won’t tell you what happens, but trust me: it’s not something
anyone wants to see. The Farrellys may think it’s this movie’s
“hair gel” moment, but instead it plays like a bad Kevin Smith
However, in the midst of all of
their striking out, Wilson’s character actually starts making a
little headway – with an astonishingly tolerant Australian
coffee-shop barista (Nicky Whelan) and his kids’ crushing
college-aged babysitter (Alexandra Daddario).
Which puts him in a bit of a
moral dilemma – if he loves his wife does he really want to take
advantage of the opportunity that may be presenting itself?
Of course, the Farellys don’t
trust the drama of the moment to play out by itself, so they
throw a whole load of ridiculous obstacles in the way –
including the barista’s crazy stalker, a car crash, cops, a
horny aunt and a sensitive baseball coach who just may be making
a move on Wilson’s wife.
The ending is rather frantic
and not overly funny, however there are just enough good moments
mixed in with the bad to make Hall Pass worth a rental
when it is released on video. There’s probably not all that much
point in wasting a trip to the theater for it, though.