Hall Pass continues a string of relatively funny if not altogether sidesplitting films from the Farrelly brothers. Seventeen years removed from their debut, Dumb and Dumber, Peter and Bobby continue to get cheap laughs out of gross sight gags, some more successful than others.
You will groan, and you will fidget at times, but if you are among those who laughed heartily at Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary, Hall Pass should induce some spirited guffaws.
This is, perhaps, their best “raunchy” movie since Mary, a slightly better effort than the passable Me, Myself and Irene and near-return-to-form The Heartbreak Kid. The pleasant and enjoyable Fever Pitch is disqualified because it was about baseball and didn’t have any dick jokes. Shallow Hal and Stuck on You sucked, so they’re simply banished from thought beyond this sentence.
When middle-aged real estate agent Rick (Owen Wilson) gets busted one too many times for incidents involving apparent sexual dissatisfaction, wife Maggie (Jenna Fischer) gets fed up and grants him a “hall pass.” For one week, he can do whatever he wants sexually with other women, with no questions asked.
Rick’s best friend Fred (Jason Sudeikis) is granted the same gift by his wife, Grace (Christina Applegate), for a far more salacious infraction involving his automobile, and the two head out for seven days of debauchery. With other friends in tow, the party starts at Applebee’s and sort of goes downhill from there.
Attempts to get laid involve going to coffee houses, playing golf while stoned on pot brownies, lying around in hotel rooms eating Ben & Jerry’s, and, of course, bar hopping. The boys find out that, even though they have been granted their sexual freedom, there are no guarantees they will capitalize. In fact, they will more than likely strike out.
Of course, this is just the Farrellys setting the stage for gross sight gags, some of which are mighty funny, and others that no person in their right mind would want to ever see. The best involves a woman having some difficulty in Fred’s bathroom, with the worst being a shocking moment for Rick and two incredibly different and variably sized cocks. I will provide no further description.
As for the rest of Rick and Fred’s crew, Stephen Merchant scores some laughs as the one who supplies the pot brownies. (Stay around for the credits because they feature Merchant in the funniest sequence of the film.) Larry Joe Campbell appears as Hog-Head, constantly needing to take a dump, which he does at very inopportune times. Richard Jenkins shows up late as Coakley, offering sleazy sage advice on how to pick up girls.
What works in the film is largely due to the pairing of Wilson and Sudeikis, who play off each other nicely. Wilson is in his usual deadpan mode, while Sudeikis, easily one of the funnier entities on the current incarnation of Saturday Night Live, provides the more energetic sparks. His oft-repeated gag involving “fake chow” is a lot funnier than it ever should be thanks to his spirited delivery.
Undoubtedly, the Farrellys are held to a high standard when it comes to the gross-out sight gags. They set the high watermark with their utilization of jizz on Ben Stiller’s ear and in Cameron Diaz’s hair in Mary. Hall Pass makes many admirable attempts to achieve such moments of glory. They fall somewhat short, but there are enough successful gags to make the whole thing worth a fan’s time.
Yeah, not glowing praise by any means. But sometimes, just sometimes, I need a movie to show me a glamorous girl spraying diarrhea all over some dude’s bathroom wall, just to keep things real.