“Hall Pass” Movie Review

     I’ll admit I was intrigued by the prospects of “Hall Pass”, the new comedy from directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly.  Unfortunately, the film is short on laughs and seems forced.  The parts which are the most clever are seen in the trailer.  The parts they cannot show you in the trailer are funny, but they are also few and far between.  I have to think it must be difficult being the Farrelly Brothers.  After all, they are responsible for the holy trilogy of comedy that includes “Dumb and Dumber”, “Kingpin”, and “There’s Something About Mary.”  Anytime these two come out with a new film, it will immediately by judged against those three, and when I did that, Hall Pass failed miserably.

     Owen Wilson plays Rick, a bumbling moron of a husband who likes to check out women while with his wife in public.  Of course this serves as a clue to his wife as to what he must do when she is not present.  His buddy, Fred, played by Jason Sudeikis is basically in the same boat, though his wife never seems to be surprised by his antics.  In a last ditch effort to save their marriages, the two wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) give these two idiots a “Hall Pass”, which means they have a week off from marriage with no strings attached. 

     So, as the meat of the plot begins to unfold, Rick and Fred venture out in search women to hook up with.  They do this by first checking in to a local Comfort Inn and hanging out at the bar at their neighborhood Applebees.  Obviously, these two are out of their element and have no idea what to do with their new found temporary freedom, which ultimately leads to both couples realizing they are meant for each other in their own way.

     I won’t spoil the obligatory sight gags the Farrelly brothers have made famous, but I will say they seem forced and in many cases don’t have anything to do with the story.  The memorable “frank and beans” scene in “There’s Something About Mary” fits and flows into the story, but in Hall Pass none of these scenes really fit, nor do they further anything going on.  Its as if the Farrelly’s figured if their names are attached to this, they HAVE to give the audience some type of gross out scene.  What they seem to have forgotten is it is the funny dialogue that carries their films and the sight gags only enhance them.  There are bits and pieces of funny dialogue from time to time, but there are also long lulls in the action that don’t seem to be going anywhere.  From about the time Rick and Fred arrive at a nightclub in the third act, the film just falls apart and leaves the audience with nothing to laugh at.

     I can’t help but to think there was a bit of miscasting here as well.  Owen Wilson is a dud and is not funny.  He was horrible in the nearly unwatchable “How Do You Know” and even worse in his returning role in “Little Fockers.”  I think he tries to play the same character in every film and where it was funny in “Meet the Parents”, it is just not funny anymore.  On the other hand, I’d like to see more of Jason Sudeikis.  The SNL vet has a very unique sense of comic timing and I think in a better film that has better writing he would flourish.  There’s just not a lot for him to work with here.

     I suppose this review may sound a bit scathing, but as I said before with success comes expectation.  When I see certain directors names on a film, their previous success will always play into how I judge their product.  The Farrelly’s success in the 90’s mean I expect all of their films to be laugh out loud funny.  Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and Quentin Tarantino all live by the same standard and when it comes to comedy, the Farrelly brothers are in the same conversation.  Next time out, give us something that I can get together with my buddies and quote!  As for the now, take a pass on Hall Pass. GRADE: D