Hall Pass

One Week Bachelorhood

         
 

25 February 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Dirty-minded humor with married men who would rather dream of being swinging playboys than be whipped providers to their wives. The Farrelly Brothers are back with Hall Pass partnering Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis together as married bubs who get one week off from marriage granted by their wives Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate to relive their glory days as bachelors. Their wives don’t think they will follow-through on adultery because they believe guilt will consume them. Wrong, the guys look to score. But these two are incompetent singles players. Out of the game for so long, they don’t know how to talk to women as if they’re not objects. Thus, a tale of two men as fevered horndogs, men as dumbasses, men as foul-mouthed juveniles, men as pooped out sloths, men that generally suck at manhood. If you have a special fixation for vulgar slobs, then it’s funny.

What makes this vulgar comedy successful is that the Farrelly Brothers (“There’s Something About Mary” was their biggest hit, “Kingpin” and “Stuck on You” are their most underrated) are willing to look at these bubs as conventional married men first who just happen to like to discharge leftover childhood frustration on occasion. Only now they get to with freedom. Successful too because the vulgar and dirty stuff rises out of situations instead of just plugging dirty humor as the set-up – most lousy comedies are all set-up in vulgarity followed by arbitrarily placed gags. When the guys get together to chew pot-brownies it’s like their first time ever. The scene would play different if they had them all the time. But they’re wary, and inexperienced. So it’s funnier in their lack of expectation that they eat whole squares instead of quarter bites as typically recommended, and wig out.

The week starts with Wilson and Sudeikis eager to score but they don’t know where to start so they hit the bar at Applebee’s. They realize it’s not a pick-up place, but they want to fuel on ribs to get their mojo flowing for the rest of the night – only to get too into the ribs. Generally, they grasp hold of bachelorhood with license to do anything and they suck at it (their other married buddies with no “Hall Pass” become disappointed observers). Our would-be heroes are limp little weiners with trepid, feeble attempts when it comes to approaching women. Aside from sex preoccupation, these dumbasses play video games and belch and abandon all pride.

Meanwhile, their wives on their sabbatical have an easier time partying with the opposite sex, getting fetched with pick-up offers from baseball player hunks at their college town / resort (they didn’t intend to take “hall pass” but they decide to seize it). Are women better at stacking lies and manufacturing “authenticity” than men? Not really, they don’t have to lie about having jerk-off husbands.

The missed golden opportunity would have been to see the Wilson and Sudeikis duo actually get remade, like “Pretty Woman” but for boneheads. What made these bubs think that they could go out dressed like dorks, in short sleeve plaid shirts with Yellow Balloon haircuts, and think that women would purr and hum by their come-ons? If they had been real playboys, or had this been a slightly more thoughtful comedy, these two would have gone out and bought Mafia suits and gold rings, thousand dollar shades and diamond cufflinks, procured Porsche and bodyguard rentals. If there’s another lesson learned, it is when you have two dorks approaching women, the wingman tactic can’t do anything but impair you – two-man camaraderie reeks of over-rehearsal. These guys get better chances when they split up and go solo where they can then hone dorkiness and twist it into an act of charm.

Vulgar comedy is pledged, so beware, you get two penis shots and one long gaze of an attractive blonde’s breasts as compensate and as an indicator of some promise of debauchery. (Male nudity is funny in context, and the Farrelly Brothers want you to gag on your laughter.) Also, Jenna Fischer has bigger cleavage than you would think. Richard Jenkins makes a hysterical late arrival as a squirm-inducing sex addict who knows the game all too well, to a point that sex for him is reduced to being no more thrilling than flossing teeth. The more pervy he is though, the more indecently engaging he becomes.

  

It’s not hard to see which of our two Hall Pass’ers has a better shot at landing a one night stand (one of them is as pathetic as MacLovin’). And it’s not hard to see which kind of guy has a domesticated conscience and which kind of guy thinks fidelity leads to eventually digging your own grave. If a movie like this didn’t happen though, then we wouldn’t be able to see a demonstration of guys screwing up fantasy and screwing up reality.

105 Minutes. Rated R.

COMEDY / ADULT THEMES / WEEKEND VIEWING DEBAUCHERY

Film Cousins: “Blame it on Rio” (1984); “The Woman in Red” (1984); “There’s Something About Mary” (1998); “I Think I Love My Wife” (2007).

      

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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