Hall Pass is the latest movie from the Farrelly brothers, the writing/directing pair who established their distinctive style with comedy classics like Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary. This time around they stick to their formula of a basic plot sustained by edgy jokes and gross-out humor. Jason Sudeikis and Owen Wilson play Fred and Rick, a pair of buddies who are bored with their respective marriages. Rick (Wilson) is a suburban dad who can't help checking out other women, while Fred (Sudeikis) is basically a dog who seems to hate being married altogether.
Neither can control his roving eyes and inappropriate comments, and when their wives (Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer) get fed up with their antics, they each give their husband a "hall pass" — a one week break from being married. With their spouses out of town, Fred and Rick assume they're about to go wild as single men on the prowl. Their misadventures make for a journey that's often gross, vaguely offensive, and unfortunately, rarely funny. Find out why I wasn't into Fred and Rick's bachelor adventure when you read more.
The crude dialogue is pretty off-putting; Fred and Rick seem to care less about meeting women and more about seeing who can objectify them more. Fred's commentary, in particular, is traumatically bad. While it may just be the character, Sudeikis makes Fred an obnoxious pig with little respect for women and even less for his marriage. When his wife Grace (Applegate) is similarly tempted by the fruit of another, you actually hope that she strays from her bad-mannered spouse.
One saving grace is Wilson, whose endearing nature is unshakable, even when forced to deliver the script's filthier lines. Still, even when his character's sentiment shows up, it's not enough to redeem him. Plus, if the dirty talk isn't what turns you off, then many of the graphic sight gags will. Should you choose to see this movie, don't do it right after eating.
What's most unfortunate about the film is the opportunities it misses. It has the chance to be relatable when it comes to long-term relationships, but instead, it mocks marriage. And although Fischer and Applegate begin the movie as humorless shrews, they're given what could have been a substantial subplot following their girls' week in Cape Cod. It's more compelling than the mens' story, but it makes up so little of the movie. And while I want to say that the biggest thing missing from the movie is humor, it's even more lacking in heart.