Hall Pass

Hall Pass is no comedic genius. The jokes are infantile, scatological and R-rated shocking. There's pot, booze, chicks, cheesy pick-up lines, uncovered body parts and a stereotype cornucopia. Yet, it isn't half as bad as it could have been. With a shockingly aged Owen Wilson, and a rather bemused Jason Sudeikis, Hall Pass seems to take the mission of extracting a snicker from the audience as its one and only objective. Which it manages to achieve, even if it is at a significant cost.

Rick and Fred are the two middle aged men, played by Wilson and Sudeikis, who are firmly stuck in the geeky college obsession with sex and women. In their self-perpetuating mythical image, they see themselves as conquerors of concubines forced to settle into lives of married American suburban males. Powered by each others ability to blow hot air, and oblivious to their childishness, they find themselves in more than one silly escapade that exasperates their spouses - Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate). This finally earns them a strange sort of mental cleanse - a week's pass from marriage that they could use to do anything at all. And get "it" out of their systems.

On cue this releases the two sets of characters required to drive the week to closure - the loser friends and the hot chicks. Powered by Stephen Merchant, Larry Joe Campbell, the friends help prove how out of touch the lead characters are with the world. Right from hunting for chicks in Applebees (a family restaurant) to playing golf after consuming "special" brownies. The jokes are somewhat predictable, but manage to work. The chick-brigade is led by Leigh (Nicky Whelan) and the baby-sitter Paige (Alexandra Daddario). Predictably the moments here are awkward and cheesy.

But the bulk of the comedic heavy lifting is managed between the two main characters and some scenes with a very high shock value. Yes, the movie is R-rated for a reason. And no, without those scenes, the movie would have been left with nothing else of significance.

We went to the movie to make up for last week's disaster of a chick-flick: No Strings Attached, because this, apparently, was a dude-flick. While that classification of the movie displayed a considerable misunderstanding of the term, there is a certain idiocy in the movie that can probably only be enjoyed by men. It is an obstinate refusal to grow up, coupled with a inexplicable attraction to bodily functions, that barely redeems this movie to half the human population.

April 16, 2011


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