Hall Pass Review

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Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) are granted a week's "pass" from marriage, with the freedom to live out their sexual dreams. But they're less than happy when their wives (Fischer and Applegate) are also tempted to let loose. Can the couples work it out?


It’s been a tough few years for the Farrelly brothers. After arriving on the scene brash and bold with the likes of Dumb And Dumber and Kingpin, before cementing themselves as the reigning kings of the disgusto-com-meets-sweet-sentiment genre with There’s Something About Mary, they’ve found their thrones usurped by other filmmakers. It didn’t help that follow-ups such as Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hal and especially an ill-judged remake of The Heartbreak Kid failed to live up to their early promise.

Now, four years later, they’re back in the comfort zone of goofball man-children and the women they lust after. An initial look at the frustrations of married life soon gives way to the titular concept and brings Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis firmly back into the pantheon of Farrelly-style arrested-development types. Initially thrilled with the idea of getting a week to chat up the ladies and indulge all their untapped sexual energy, the boys soon learn that they’re not quite the lady-hunting hounds they thought they were. It’s reliably fertile territory for the writer/directors, who make sure to keep both of their leads believable and, to a decent degree, likable as they encounter an assortment of busty babes, lusty oldies and Richard Jenkins’ horny legend Coakley. And while the friends do get wrapped up in some farcical goings-on, they seem normal compared to their crazier acquaintances — including a scene-stealing Stephen Merchant — who offer some early laughs, but then vanish completely less than halfway through the running time.

Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, as their respective other halves, don’t fare quite so well in slightly underwritten roles, but a combination of some solid moments and the adept performances by the two actresses make the wives work. Nothing here tops the gross-out heights (or heart) of Mary, and Hall Pass won’t prove a revelation for Farrelly fans, but it’s a funnier effort than a lot of their recent work.

Not up there with the Farrelly brothers' classics, but still a worthwhile, farcical comedy.