Grade: B –
Director: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, and Nicky Whelan
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hr. 38 mins.
With age comes a change in viewpoint, and the funniest parts of Hall Pass aren’t the redundant, rehashed toilet humor and full frontal nudity. They’re the snapshots of arrested masculinity and matrimony, suburban schmos wedded to their fully loaded minivans and sleep apnea masks who are also expected to take their wives shoe shopping and to Kathy Griffin concerts.
Yet, full emasculation still doesn’t afford Rick (Owen Wilson), a plaid-wearing real estate agent, and Fred (Jason Sudeikis, Saturday Night Live), a boorish life insurance salesman, the right to glance at another woman from behind. So, their better but semi-bitter halves, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate), latch onto some pop psychology and granted their hubbies a week-long “hall pass”: a time-out from marriage and purported license to sow their wild oats. Or, maybe “shredded wheat” is a more age-appropriate term.
Either way, the premise is contrived and lazy. The joke, however, is that Rick and Fred are even more inept as bachelors than when shackled by marriage. Once-cool ‘80s lingo falls thunderously flat; they trawl Applebee’s for chicks but just end up tiring themselves out by 9pm. And, when either actually manages to snare some strange – including Rick’s rapport with a busty blond Aussie barista (Nicky Whelan) – they react like the proverbial dog who doesn’t know what to do with the car once he catches it.
Ironically, the humor in