Vacation from Marriage
When two husbands get permission from their wives to do whatever they want -- and with whomever they want -- for an entire week, it seems like a dream come true to them. That’s the idea behind Hall Pass, a raunchy comedy from Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the guys who gave us the very funny There’s Something about Mary, which started a craze for similar raunch-com movies. However, things have gotten out of hand now as a result of over emphasis on “raunchy” at the expense of humor, and Hall Pass is a perfect example.
Filled with crude scenes and dialogue about sex, body parts and excrement, this movie works extra hard to earn its “R” rating. But on a laugh meter from 1 to 10, it rates only a 2 from me. I chuckled just twice while watching Hall Pass: once at a scene in a chain restaurant where the husbands, played by Owen Wilson (Marley & Me) and Jason Sudeikis (TV’s Saturday Night Live), go to “pick up babes” and once at the sight of Wilson falling asleep in a hot tub at the gym. The rest of the time, I felt like falling asleep myself, despite extreme efforts by the film to shock viewers. The problem? Story and characters here are not very appealing or interesting, so it’s difficult to care about what happens to any of them.
Take Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) for example. These two friends come across like junior high boys instead of grown men. Their actions during the vacation-from-marriage week don’t ring true. For example -- using silly pick-up lines from the internet? Eating themselves into a stupor? Puh-leez. And their wives, portrayed by Jenna Fischer (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) and Christina Applegate (TV’s Samantha Who?), are too condescending. Yes, we understand why they don’t like it when their mates ogle pretty ladies, but giving them a “hall pass” to have sex with other women in order to improve their own marriages is just plain ridiculous, even in a movie. Plus the romances these lovely women get involved in during the “vacation period” seem too much of a contrast to what’s happening with their husbands -- who find out they’re not as cool as they once were as well as whether or not they can actually cheat on the wives they love.
What’s next for the Farrelly brothers? Probably more than a week's vacation from filmmaking.
(Released by New Line Cinema and rated “R” for crude and sexual humor throughout, language, some graphic nudity and drug use.)
For more information about Hall Pass, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.