Sunday, 19 June 2011
Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudekis, Christina Applegate, Jenna Fischer
By Alan Bacchus
Rick and Fred are two lame doofuses who suffer the shame of gawking at other woman while never being able to have sex with their own wives. But they receive the ultimate gift from their wives, a hall pass – that is, a week off from the obligations of marriage. Despite featuring two good actors, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis, their talents are wasted with on-the-nose comedy and an emotional core that feels more manufactured than genuine.
The Farrelly Brothers' gross-out humour is slapped onto a rather sappy morality tale about the idiom 'the grass is always greener on the other side'. Unfortunately, there’s nothing fresh or new about these jokes that focus on the theme that men are pigs who think with their dicks and their more mature wives can’t understand why they think about sex so much.
The filmmakers throw their characters in the suburbs, another overused comic device, where Rick and Fred are characterized as typically emasculated middle-class males who drive minivans, jerk off in secret, wear khakis, and bitch and moan about their wives with their other pathetic loser buddies while playing poker and eating ribs.
After the boys receive their hall pass we get to see them fail in each and every attempt to rekindle their lost mojo until a couple of gals actually show an interest in them. Consequently, the wives who are also off on their own find themselves similarly tempted by other men. Eventually, both couples will bond over their mutual adventures when they discover that home is where the heart is.
The Farrelly Brothers are well past being prestige comedy directors here. Instead, their names are buried at the end of the credits just like any other routine comedy directors. Their attempts to recapture old glory with their brand of shock gross-out humour never fit in with the blandness of everything else around them. But the problem is those gags wouldn’t be funny in any movie.
At one point Owen Wilson is helped out of a hot tub by two naked dudes with cocks in full view. That’s funny? Seeing a cock on screen? At one point Jason Sudekis helps a drunk gal barf in the bathtub only to end up watching her fart out a nasty explosion of excrement onto the porcelain tiles. Funny? Perhaps. At one point Jason Sudekis jerks off in his car overseen by a couple of nosey cops. Funny? Not really, but at least it’s plugged into the plot.
This lower-class Apatow knockoff is barely a rental and barely something you’d want to sit through on a plane.
Hall Pass is available on Blu-ray from Warner Home Entertainment.