Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Cast: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis
It’s been a long time since There’s Something About Mary and the Farrelly Brothers haven't aged well. In fact, they’ve not aged at all. Hall Pass is a mediocre mess of crude, gross-out rubbishness. It’s wrong to expect anything more from the Farrelly Brothers, but can we not even hope for a single laugh? To be fair, there is one joke that will make you smile. It occurs during the end credits.
The rest of the 107 minutes is just unfunny and coarse. It starts off alright, with Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) getting itchy pants after years of marriage to their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate). But then up pops the central premise of the movie: the hall pass.
What's a hall pass? Why, it's a week off from all marital responsibility, of course! It's not some made-up misogynistic MacGuffin. A woman even turns up and says the words "Hall Pass" over and over for five minutes, just to make sure. She's a doctor too, so it's clearly a morally sound plot point. After all, that's what Dr Lucy says. And we respect Dr Lucy. Because she's a woman.
And so the couples split for a week, the men planning a tits, boobs and booze fest. It's all predictable and lechy as Rick and Fred stand around plotting how to get into drunk women's pants, but then the movie does a weird about-turn: while the men learn that they're middle-aged and unattractive and decide that they love their wives, the women go off and start having affairs too.
Are we meant to cheer on their sexual freedom? Perhaps we should boo their infidelity, which justifies the men's desire to sleep with other women in the first place. We certainly don't give a damn about them saving their marriage - and neither do the Farrelly Brothers, who plaster over any moral inconsistency with lots of poo and fart jokes. There's that bit where someone farts, that other bit when someone poos, and that classic bit where a women sneezes and poos at the same time, spraying crap all over the bathroom wall. It's ground-breaking stuff.
Ok, Sudeikis and Wilson have some charisma as the leads, but do nothing with the dated script. And it would be stupid to suggest that Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer have been given anything remotely approaching a character to think about. Age of the Dragons had more depth. As for Richard Jenkins floating about nightclubs as a horny old playboy, it's hard to know what he was thinking. The same goes for Stephen Merchant, whose 1% of screentime is missing the other 99%.
Trying to copy The Hangover, the Farrelly Brothers forget that what makes shallow comedies work are actual jokes. Teenage boys will love the mix of giant cocks and number twos, but Hall Pass is summed up best by the latter: an exploding fountain of crap.
It's no Age of the Dragons. I hereby give you a Hall Pass Pass - which allows you to spend the rest of your life never watching this film.