Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hall Pass **

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Cast: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis
Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Joy Behar
J.B. Smoove, Stephen Merchant, Richard Jenkins

Everyone in Hall Pass looks terrible. Leading men Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis sport crow's feet and physiques that lack fitness to say the least. Jenna Fischer shows strange sunburns and Richard Jenkins has the worst tan of all time.
Perhaps the Farrelly brothers thought that exposing actors as they "are" would give their film a shot at achieving some sort of emotional authenticity but not really...
What we end up with instead is an attempt of the crass filmmakers at creating the kind of comedies that Judd Apatow has excelled at during the last decade. Apatow's films display men-children forced to mature, usually by strong women, who shake up their hum drum lives with their knowledge, genitalia and love for them.
This is the only thing Hall Pass has in common with something like say The 40-Year Old Virgin, and it's that the film assumes that women were created to teach men lessons, even when this means they have to reduce their personalities to often overbearing examples of "she's being a bitch because she loves me".
In this case, Wilson and Sudeikis, play the horny husbands of Fischer and Applegate respectively. The two friends spend their days checking out women and fantasizing about how much they would get laid if they were single again (obviously Fischer and Applegate's characters always have headaches and come up with excuses to avoid intercourse with them).
When their hormonal behavior leads to social embarrassment, the women decide it's time to give them a "hall pass": they get an entire week off of marriage to satiate their sexual appetite.
The film then follows the guys as they spend their week attempting to have sex and usually failing. This obviously will lead them to realize that, like Dorothy, they have no other place like home, but before that they take part in Farrelly stunts that involve farting, African American penises, psychotic DJs and Jenkins playing an expert ladies' man.
At the center of the film there are some signs of something deeper than we'd expected and this is mostly seen through Applegate's character, who takes on a pseudo-affair of her own with a younger man.
Watching the talented comedienne you can't help but wish she was in a better movie, because she provides her character with melancholy traits that seem out of place in the rest of this frat-boy fest. Even if her character receives a ridiculous punishment for exploring her own sexual liberty (something that says more about the latent misogyny in the movie than its attempt at cherishing married love) she's perhaps the only time the movie ever comes close to achieving humanity.
The rest is a mildly funny excuse for defending immature male behavior filtered through humor that could've been ruder and less cringe worthy because of its forced warmth.


Robert said...

It's too bad to see people like Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer (both of whom are really wonderful) doing stuff like this. They deserve better!

Jose said...

I agree Robert! It's a shame that dull actors like Wilson get lead roles while Fischer and Applegate have to support his bland kind of comedy.

Robert said...

That is so, so true. I've not seen the movie but I'm sure it would have been infinitely more interesting had the roles been reversed and Fischer and Applegate were the leads who wanted a week off of marriage from their husbands. Now that I would see. Haha

Castor said...

This sounded horrible before I read your review but it's so well written you somehow made the movie look more appealing than it probably should be haha