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Dan's Review: Hall Pass

You'd better have one, if you're headed to the hall.
Hall Pass (New Line Cinema/Warner Bros.)

Rated R for crude and sexual humor throughout, language, some graphic nudity and drug use.

Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Joy Behar, Alyssa Milano, Stephen Merchant, J.B. Smoove, Richard Jenkins, Alexandra Daddario, Vanessa Angel, Larry Joe Campbell, Megan Joy.

Written by Pete Jones, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett, Bobby Farrelly.

Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly.

GRADE: C+

REVIEW:


Men are pigs. I know this because I am one, and apparently, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery in most 12-step programs. The male species and our natural propensity of attraction to multiple members of the opposite sex is the premise of the Farrelly Brothers' latest film Hall Pass.

Owen Wilson plays Rick, married to the adorable Maggie (Jenna Fischer) for several years. Jason Sudeikis plays Rick's best buddy Fred, married to the equally adorable Grace (Christina Applegate). The two couples seem happy, but they are troubled by some of the normal pitfalls of marriage, including coping with child-raising and the decline of intimacy. When Maggie and Grace notice their husbands behaving like typical men around other members of the opposite sex, they take the advice of their friend and psychiatrist  Dr. Lucy (Joy Behar - but I don't think Behar would ever be a very good shrink, what with her grating, nasal, cackling voice), who suggests that the ladies give their husbands a "hall pass," or a release from their marriages for one week. The idea behind the "hall pass" is to give the men permission to sow their wild oats without any repercussion, so that they can better appreciate what they already have.

As the wives take off to stay at a beach front house near Maggie's parents as the boys settle in for a week of unbridled debauchery. The big week of hedonism doesn't exactly get off to a big start, as Rick and Fred's first foray into the wild unknown consists of trips to Applebee's and Chili's. By the middle of their big week off from marriage, all they've accomplished is the consumption of several platters of hot wings and ribs, along with buckets of booze and a wild golf course trip under the influence of some uber-marijuana brownies. By week's end, both men are eventually presented with opportunities to hook up with some women - but will they go all the way, or stay faithful to their spouses?

Incidentally, the wives are presented with similar opportunities/choices.

Hall Pass is vintage Farrelly brothers, with plenty of crude, rude and raunchy behavior. That would be fine, except some of the crude humor is just crude, and not very funny. Perhaps a little less fecal humor, next time around, Farrellys.

Owen Wilson delivers the same performance he's done in countless other films, although playing a middle-aged dad does seem more suited for him. Sudeikis plays the sidekick role adequately, but any number of other actors could have pulled it off without much difference (Ed Helms come to mind).

As far as a "message" concerning marriage and fidelity, Hall Pass doesn't tread any new ground, offering a predictable ending to a tired premise.


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