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March 28, 2011 | by  | in Arts Film | [ssba]

Hall Pass

In the Farrelly Brothers’ latest film, a hall pass is not just a token that allows an American school student to use the bathroom during class; it’s also a break from the shackles of marriage. Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudekis) are best friends who have been shackled to their wives for a long time. Confronted with the ‘horror’ of only being able to have sex with their wives, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate), they find their eyes wandering. The situation comes to a head after the two men are caught on camera making extremely crass and misogynistic jokes about, but not limited to, “wide mouthed vaginas”. Feeling that they have no other choice, the wives give their husbands the titular hall pass.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly, yet again behind the camera, appear to be unsure of the direction they want this movie to take. For every heart-warming testimony about the sanctity of marriage, we are given a lesson in the physics of explosive diarrhea. For every internal ethical dilemma, we have a corresponding shot of full frontal male nudity.
Most of what is supposed to be funny in Hall Pass involves bodily functions, but this only succeeds in generating cringes, not laughs. The premise of the movie is interesting enough, but the execution is unsatisfactory—instead of the protagonists enjoying screwball adventures a la The Hangover, Rick and Fred find themselves pigging out at a restaurant and trying woeful pickup lines.

The most telling testimony to Hall Pass’ ineptitude comes from within the movie, shockingly enough. As the film makes it painfully clear that Rick and Fred are not going to make good use of their gift, their buddies up and leave them to their failures. If vicariously living the hall pass is boring and disappointing, how is it supposed to make for a funny and enjoyable movie? In essence, Hall Pass is a movie that’s as tired and past it as the lead characters. Only raging sexists and preteen boys will find anything to enjoy here.

[ssba]

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