Review – Hall Pass

‘It’s a movie about middle aged men acting like morons’, a simple concept that has become the hottest idea to pitch to movie executives. Men have been acting like morons since the beginning of time, but in the last 15 years a new genre has been created that I’m going to call ‘middle-of-age comedy’. Examples include ‘Old School’ and ‘The Hangover’ which managed to successfully execute the formula with the right mix of stupidity and heart. Now comes the Farrelly brothers (Dumb & Dumber and There’s Something About Mary) attempt at ‘middle-of-age’ comedy in the shape of ‘Hall Pass’. In ‘Hall Pass’ family man Rick (Owen Wilson) is granted a hall pass by his wife Maggie (Jenna Fischer). A hall pass entitles Rick to a week off marriage with no consequences and once word gets out, best friend Fred (Jason Sudeikis) is granted his own hall pass and the boys start reliving the single life. ‘Hall Pass’ is a wasted opportunity that wallows in gross out humour and a flat predictable storyline with very few laughs.

When the Farrelly brothers get behind the camera you can expect heavy doses of gross out humour and that’s what you get in ‘Hall Pass’. The big disappointment is that the Farrelly brothers pull the same lame gags out of their porcelain bowl of tricks, from characters crapping their pants to characters using a sand trap on a golf course as a toilet, this film has it all. It may be the Farrelly brothers calling card but it fails to shock or amuse like it did in ‘There’s Something About Mary’ and clearly the duo haven’t got the message that gross out humour is pretty much dead in 2011.

The plot of ‘Hall Pass’ is predictable and the concept is never fully realised, the characters are given a week off marriage with no consequences but they spend more time standing around talking about it than actually doing it and when the characters finally start getting into the swing of things, it finishes. The cast of ‘Hall Pass’ have all made a name for themselves doing comedy so on paper it looks like a strong comedic ensemble but they are all wasted in this film and try hard to milk the script for laughs but to no avail. The only highlight was the presence of Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office with Ricky Gervais) who delivers some of the films only decent laughs but he’s only in the film for less than ten minutes with one of his best gags runs during the credits (make sure you stick around for it).

‘Hall Pass’ was meant to signal a comeback for the Farrelly brothers but it shows that they’re still making movies like it was 1996. Live in fear that the next film the Farrelly brothers are putting together is ‘The Three Stooges’, did you feel that chill run down your spine?


The Popcorn Junkie