HALL PASS (2011)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Peter Farelly & Bobby Farelly
Cast: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Richard Jenkins, Christina Applegate, Alexandra Daddario, Stephen Merchant, Nicky Whelan, Larry Joe Campbell, Tyler Hoechlin
RunTime: 1 hr 46 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scenes And Nudity)
Official Website: http://www.hall-pass-movie.com/

Opening Day: 7 April 2011

Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are best friends who have a lot in common, including the fact that they have each been married for many years.  But when the two men begin to show signs of restlessness at home, their wives take a bold approach to revitalizing their marriages: granting them a “hall pass,” one week of freedom to do whatever they want…no questions asked. At first, it sounds like a dream come true for Rick and Fred.  But it isn’t long before they discover that their expectations of the single life—and themselves—are completely, and hilariously, out of sync with reality.

Movie Review:

Because this reviewer (a male one at that) is a swinging bachelor, he doesn’t have any idea how a “hall pass” works. Is this even a known concept among married couples in Singapore? The notion does sound thrilling though - at least to guys who believe that there is always a time in their lives, whether attached or not, to have the freedom to have relationships without any commitments.

Before you start judging this humble columnist, let it be known that this is a value he doesn’t agree with, but let’s just say he cannot predict what will happen if he is given a “hall pass” one day when he is all settled down with a beautiful wife.

For the two protagonists of this movie, they are unhappy with their sex lives and miss the days when they were single. Thanks to circumstances (nothing more than some clever manipulating of the script by writers Pete Jones, Kevin Barnett, together with Peter and Bobby Farrelly), the two best friends are given “hall passes” to do anything they want for a week, including having limitless affairs with other women. One can only imagine the joy of these two middle aged men, until their wives begin having what you can define as “extramarital activities” during that one week away from home.

This isn’t the most moral theme to explore in a movie, if you ask us. But for those who are familiar with the Farrelly brothers’ works, they would be looking out for the signature gross gags and toilet humour. There is a reason why There’s Something About Mary (1998), one of the best movies to showcase R rated jokes, is used as a marketing tool for this production (and probably most of the duo’s works) – because everyone loves a no bars held adult comedy once in a while.

Unfortunately, despite the potential this plot holds for some really outrageous setups, the 105 minute movie comes across as a fragmented comedy with unfocused bits and pieces. It also doesn’t help that the filmmakers seem to be overly cautious about not crossing the line of morality.

You know something is amiss when there is only one big time laugh out loud moment in the movie (without giving too much away, let’s just say it involves a sneeze in a bathroom).

So, when male leads Owen Wilson (How Do You Know, Little Fockers) and Jason Sudeikis (Going the Distance, The Bounty Hunter) try their best to constantly outtalk each other with crass jokes, one cannot help but sense their failure to engage the audience. The supporting female cast includes Jenna Fishcher (Solitary Man, Blades of Glory) and Christina Applegate (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Rocker), and as pleasant as they are, it doesn’t salvage the movie from being a bore. Nope, we still do not find ourselves laughing as much as we wanted to when veteran actor Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Step Brothers) appears as a veteran chick magnet.

Yes, this M18 rated comedy does feature body parts (without saying too much again, let’s just say these are organs which you won’t see in a PG rated comedy), but it is also devoid of the laughs which we were very much looking forward to.

Movie Rating:

(You may want to give this a pass if you were expecting something outrageously rib tickling)

Review by John Li

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