The Farrelly Brothers, remember them? The guys responsible for There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber? If you do, you know the kind of work they do. There is a bit of the gross-out in their movies. There are sad sack man-child leading men. And there is some of that formulaic nudity that guarantees the R rating that grants movies like this the hint of taboo that seems so superannuated in these days of widespread internet access to…everything.
Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis play Rick and Fred, two married men who believe they would be knee deep in ‘action’ (is that deep enough? I don’t know) if they weren’t, y’know, married, respectively to Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate). Because this is a movie, not too much time passes before the women are first introduced to the concept of the ‘hall pass’ and the two men are actually granted one each.
This is how the pass works: for a specified period of time (one week in the case of this movie) the guys have a vacation from their marriage. They can do anything—or anyone—without fear of reprisals. Rick’s wife Maggie—the one who awards the pass first—takes her brood to her parents’ house and Grace decides to go with her.
What does this mean?
Party time of course!
Not even in a movie can they make it appear like two suburban married guys tear it up “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” style just because their wives told them they could.
Do they try? Sure.
But I think I speak for most men who aren’t on a quote-from-page-number-basis with those ‘how to pick up women’ books when I say that the way this movie plays out is probably how things would progress for most men granted this ‘hall pass’.
In fact the nicer of the two lead characters i.e. Rick is the one who is also the one placed most often in tempting situations. So when he’s not making a mess of the opportunities he gets with easy-on-the-eyes Leigh (Nicky Whelan) the Australian Barista who catches his eye, he’s fending off the advances of Paige (Alexandra Daddario) his old-enough-to-drink babysitter who is going out of her way to pull his strings (if you figure out where I’m going with that pun leave me a message in the comments).
While it doesn’t feature equivalent comedy gold moments like the ones in Mary and Dumber, Hall Pass finds new ways to make you grin uncomfortably. I’m talking specifically of the time Rick falls asleep in the Jacuzzi, and Fred’s final scene with the girl who recently quit smoking. Oh man, I saw that one coming and it was still gross enough to be unwatchable at meal (or snack) time.
So, solid effort; and the kind of movie that would totally pass the time on a slow night. Hall Pass was fun for me.