Hall Pass

Hall Pass


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Do you have the urge to feel sympathy for two middle-aged white guys suffering from a down-market, south of the belt version of The Seven Year Itch? If not, then you would be well advised to give this latest weak and decidedly dated attempt at comedy from the Farrelly Brothers a wide berth.

The guys in question are Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis), whose seemingly happy - important for the sentimental bit later - marriages to Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) just aren't floating their boats any more. Both men have a tendency to leer with less subtlety than your average teenager at any lovely who drifts into a view. When a spot of in-car masturbation (what is it with Hollywood's obsession with auto-onanism lately? First Due Date and now this) leads Fred to get caught with his hand on his throttle, the wives decide to give them a 'hall pass'. This, in essence, is a week off from marriage.

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So, with their significant others squared away in insignificant - but, oddly, much less patronising - subplots than them, the boys hit the town looking to reclaim their youth. Of course, they dare not go alone, so enlist the help of the oddest collection of pals to grace middle America in many a long year including, most weirdly, Stephen Merchant, replacing comic timing with eye rolling.

What ensues is a, mostly predictable, set of misadventures through which they come to realise that their wives are, would you believe it, much more dear to them than they thought while the wives - hang on to your sides, now - find that they cope surprisingly well without the blokes around. How it gets there, though, relies on a stack of woeful stereotypes, including but not limited to - an Aussie babe, a well-endowed black guy and a middle-aged nymphomaniac.

If the plot is poor, the direction takes dull to new levels of blandness and several of the jokes are so skewed to an American audience that they will be lost on this side of the Pond. Never fear, though, there's always another toilet humour gag just around the U-bend. In fairness, one or two of the jokes hit pay dirt and Wilson is reasonably watchable in the central role. But so much of this is ill-advised or downright weird - such as the normally reliable Richard Jenkins hopelessly miscast as an ageing lothario - that the sensible course of action is to pass right along the hall.

Reviewed on: 11 Mar 2011
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Hall Pass packshot
Two men go on the prowl after being the week off marriage by their wives.
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Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Pete Jones, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett, Bobby Farrelly

Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Merchant, Larry Joe Campbell, Bruce Thomas, Tyler Hoechlin, Derek Waters, Alexandra Daddario, Rob Moran, Lauren Bowles, Christa Campbell

Year: 2011

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

Due Date
The Hangover