'Hall Pass' has plenty of laughs ... and plenty of gaffes
Published: Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Updated: Monday, April 25, 2011 21:04
A hall pass is supposed to get you from Point A to Point B without getting into trouble.Unfortunately, the plot of the latest Farrelly brothers' film went nowhere. If anything, it goes too far in too many directions.
"Hall Pass" opened last week, starring Owen Wilson (Rick) and Jason Sudeikis (Fred) as middle-aged men bored with their marriages and romanticizing about their college glory days. They fit the cinematic hyper-sexed and under-evolved male role to a buffalo wing sauce-covered tee.
Their wives Maggie and Grace (played by the adorable Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, respectively) agree in desperation to allow their manchild husbands a hall pass-one week away from marriage. While the women spend the week away at Cape Cod, the men will have free reign to do whatever they please, even to cheat.
By eliminating the taboo, they hope, they will eliminate the temptation.
If you ask me, it's a plausible scenario that occurs more frequently in relationships than the norm would expect. And for addressing such a real-life tricky topic, I commend the Farrelly brothers.
But that's about all the praise I have to give for the cinematic quality of the film. What starts out as a complete believable situation comedy quickly manifests into a series of WTF moments.
My biggest complaint is the acting. Not that Wilson reveres himself as a serious dramatic actor, but his portrayal of a father is abhorrently pathetic.
It'd be far less awkward watching Danny Devito thumb through a scrapbook with his kids than it is to watch the now-chubby Wilson take a stab at the daddy role (Uh, couldn't you re-channel Marley and Me?).
Further, the chemistry between Applegate and Sudeikis was as feign as Ricky Martin's heterosexuality. Given her obvious hotness and their severe lack of love, you have to wonder how the childless couple has managed to stay together thus far.
I do have to give props however to the SNL star for being the comedic savior of the film. Sure, you despise Fred's cockiness but at least you don't feel sorry for him like you do Rick and his incessant I-wanna-be-bad-but-I'm-really-a-good-guy crap.
While the boys fail at trying (honestly, who seeks women on a golf course?), the girls find themselves the center of some male attention and begin to embrace the hall pass for themselves.
In fact, the scene between Maggie and the baseball coach provides the only moment of reason in the film.
Don't get me wrong-you're going to laugh. True, most of the one-liners were revealed in the trailer.
But the tried and true crude humor runs abound-most notably is a steam room scene complete with full frontal male nudity.
Just to be fair, the film also provides some female frontal nudity as well, namely thanks to the blessed Nicky Whelan who plays the sweet coffee shop girl who for some inexplicable reason actually likes Rick.
And true to the potty humor calling card, there are feces to be found in some gloriously gross scenes (yes, plural).
Things become absurdly far-fetched towards the film's comedic climax (nevertheless worthy of a few laughs) before winding down to an awkwardly happy ending.
And by awkward I mean, lacking a moral resolution. Perhaps it's just my moral Tom-tom, but I felt a little confused with how easily actions were forgiven.
There is a way to combine the crude and the compassion (the 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) but the Farrelly brothers' fall short. Not that penises and poop are what great comedies are made of, but they should have stuck to what they know instead of failing with this film.
Still, it's a comedy and should be critiqued as such. Did it annoy me with inconsistencies and far-fetched fallacies? Yes. But did it also make me laugh? Again, yes.