Hall Pass

10 Apr

Title: Hall Pass
Year:
2011
Directors:
Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
Writers: Pete Jones, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett and Bobby Farrelly, based on a story by Pete Jones
Starring:
Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Stephen Merchant, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Joy Behar, J.B. Smoove, Richard Jenkins, Alyssa Milano
MPAA Rating:
R, crude and sexual humor throughout, language, some graphic nudity and drug use
Runtime:
105 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
6.1
Rotten Tomatoes:
34%

I really wanted to like Hall Pass. That’s mostly because I really wanted to go back to liking the Farrelly brothers. These are the guys that started out their career in the 90s, giving us both Dumb & Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, their best film to date, during that decade. In the last decade the quality of their work decreased: Me, Myself & Irene was only so-so, Osmosis Jones was quite cool but still nothing amazing, Shallow Hal had good leading performances but not much else, Stuck on You was actually pretty good but still wasn’t as great as their 90’s efforts, and Fever Pitch had its charm but was ultimate quite mediocre, and their last one, The Heartbreak Kid, was the worst one they have done in their careers.

So yes, I really wanted the Farrelly Brothers to get back to the quality of their earliest work with this one, their first effort in the new decade. But we didn’t even get a film as solid as Fever Pitch, as this proved one was closer to the level of accomplishment of The Heartbreak Kid, though not as horrible. This one is a different sort of film for the brothers, one that has less offensive gags and is more on the moral side of it all, and the cast they have lined up here is pretty cool, but the script just didn’t warrant an adequate amount of laughs for this to be considered a success.

And the reason why the laughs were so few and far between is that the film as a whole feels terribly forced, like they want you to laugh too much, and that’s the surest of ways for a director to kill any chance of laughter happening. Hit YouTube and look for the trailer for this movie and I doubt you’ll think it looks any good, and yet, trust me, the trailer makes it look as though the film would be better than it actually is.

I know the Farrelly’s were trying to make Hall Pass be the film in which they announced to the world that they had grown up. And it’s an honorable intention, and the film really does try to stand by the good values of life while still embedding it with their trademark gross humor, but the balance between the two always seem to be off, and as a result there are pretty much no laughs to go around here.

Anyways, just so you get the basic idea of what this is all about if you haven’t seen the trailer. We have two guys, played by Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, that get a hall pass from their wives, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate who were easily the best parts of this film, to do whatever they want with those young ladies they’re always looking at and fantasizing about, so that they finally get it all out of their systems.

And what happens next is that the men really don’t know what to do once they are liberated from their marital leash, continuing to hang out with their buddies and not really knowing how to approach the single females out there on the prowl. That could have made for a good comedy film had the script then went ahead and granted it with good scenes, however everything here just feels horribly uninspired, the situations really badly scripted and the characters just absolutely flat, no matter how much effort the actors, especially the aforementioned Ms. Fischer and Ms. Applegate, as well as the always-terrific Richard Jenkins, put into it.

The thing that bugs me is that the Farrelly brothers have proved in the past that they can balance their brand of humor with a good dosage of heart, There’s Something About Mary is a prime example of that, and even Stuck on You did it quite convincingly. So we know these two can hit it out of the park when the script is great, but even though they had a bunch of actors that would have potentially been amazing at delivering raunchy comedy, the script just wasn’t there, and as such Hall Pass just falls flat on its face.

Grade: C

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