Monday, 6 June 2011

Film Review: Hall Pass

The Farrelly brothers are known for their dumb comedies. Indeed, they could well be seen as something of pioneers, setting the bar with the likes of Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary. While back in the day these films set new levels of farce to aspire to, the Farrelly brothers alas have stuck to their formula throughout, and it's looking a little tired.

Best friends Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) have been married a long time. In their middle-age, the pair are showing signs of restlessness, harking back to the 'golden age' of their youth chasing girls. Sensing their mid-life crisis, wives (Fischer and Applegate) grant their husbands one-week off marriage, a "pass" to fulfil all their sexual desires, no questions asked. What initially seems to be a deal too good to be true soon turns out to be not all that as the two quickly discover their expectations are wildly out of sync with reality.

There have been many films since Dumb and Dumber which have done the arrested-development scenario better; The 40 Year Old Virgin and The Hangover to name a couple. The problem with Hall Pass is that the jokes are stale and the typical effusive ending which makes this kind of movie is enervated. For a film that depends on the emotional payoff at the end, it doesn't really deliver the message on love and marriage it's supposed to.

Still, Hall Pass has its moments. Providing most of these is the brilliantly cast Stephen Merchant as one of Rick and Fred's friends. However, no sooner is Merchant on screen than he disappointingly disappears from proceedings entirely. Owen Wilson on the other hand is less than inspired and seems utterly miscast, looking flat and uncomfortable as Rick. Indeed, the general quandary with Hall Pass is that none of the actors take their performances beyond what is required of them to make the gag set-ups work, making for a generally unmemorable film.

That's not to say the film is completely void of laughs. There are enough genuinely funny moments which prevent this sinking into the abyss with other Farrelly raspberries, notably Shallow Hal. In spite of its weary appearance, Hall Pass is a serviceable enough comedy. It's certainly not the Farrelly brother's best work, but it's a better effort than their more recent films.


Alison said...

I completely agree for sure with this great review! I just got the movie in the mail from Blockbuster and finished watching it and although I did find it hilariously funny at some points, it's definitely not a buy in my book. Thankfully I just started working and subscribing with DISH Network so I was able to rent it with my 3 month free trial. It's pretty sweet! I'll definitely be buying the hookup with Blockbuster after my free promo. Check out to get it too here :)