Movie Review - Hall Pass

The Farrellys ruled the roost some years ago, reinventing the R-rated comedy and making a pile of cash in the process.  Me, Myself and Irene, Shallow Hal and Stuck on You mesmerised audiences who’d never seen such comedy fare on the big screen – redolent with bodily functions, sex of every imaginable kind, frontal nudity and youthful envelope pushing.
But then Judd Apatow and his ilk came along and lots of other makers of R-rated comedies, most of which did well and some of which became classics like Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and the 40-Year Old Virgin.

The Farrellys had stiff competition but they were off working on hit TV series and it didn’t seem to matter until now. The Farrellys are back with Hall Pass, an R-rated comedy starring Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate and Jason Sudeikis.  It’s entertaining and as dirty and crude as we expect.   It’s risky business and we see a lot of close-ups of privates, but somehow the film doesn’t seem as outrageous as it could be.
It’s less shock comic these days, as audiences are now used to new kinds of comedy. Sure the Farrellys pioneered raw mainstream comedy, but others developed it and audience tastes along with them.
Hall Pass concerns two married couple embarking on a week of marriage and guilt free adventures. Nothing is off limits and there won’t be an ugly reckoning.  Freedom to measure their marriages against whatever they encounter, and to see if they still have it.  But once the wives grant their husbands shore leave, it’s not long before they take theirs.

That’s where things get sticky.  The men are dismayed to see how enthusiastic the women are but there’s not much they can do about it except stew - which they do instead of seeking hot casual sex.
As the week goes on, the Hall Pass posse have plenty of opportunities but nothing happens.   But one member, the one we least expect, does score.
The stars are winning and likeable, and for that reason, we tend to let them off the hook.  It’s a delicate balance, empathizing with people doing things we might not choose to and staying engaged in what they’re doing. 
The Farrellys couldn’t have cast Hall Pass any better.  The star power and familiar warmth of Wilson, Applegate and Fischer saves the film from shooting itself in the foot.
Hall Pass has some stellar moments, lots of outrageous fun and funny lines.  It draws some interesting conclusions about the bond of marriage, ageing, friendship and generation gaps.  It’s a new area for the filmmakers and if it’s not as funny as it could be, but it’s a rich new field they’re mining.
TV’s doing a pretty good job of illuminating marriage and family life with humour and insight – Modern Family, The Middle and Curb Your Enthusiasm come to mind.  They’re funny, racy and clever and represent newer ways of thinking about entertaining audiences that are growing older.
Written by Pete Jones, Peter and Bobby Farrelly,
Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Source: M&C
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