Hall Pass is garbage waiting for the dump truck. The latest assault on public decency from the pathetic oeuvre of the Farrelly brothers is the same old swill, wrapped in odor-resistant disposable trash bags. What, you expected more? You thought they swallowed elegance pills? Any Farrelly brothers flick (the word “film” does not apply) that didn’t pander to the lowest depths of taste and intelligence would have the cinematic effect of convulsive electro-shock treatments in an insane asylum.
Since no thought has been wasted on plot, narrative coherence, character development, direction, acting, technical artistry or anything that might pass for intelligence, I don’t see much point in discussing any aspect of this stinker in depth. The basics are simple-mindedly simple. Rick (gap-toothed, broken-nosed Owen Wilson) and his best friend, Fred (Jason Sudeikis, another in a stampede of Saturday Night Live refugees dementedly suffering from Will Ferrell envy), are two aging dweebs who never quite mastered toilet training. If the kingdom of marriage is ruled by betrayal, deception, anxiety and the seven-year itch, these two knobs are crown princes. When they say, “I may be committed but I’m not dead,” they mean it. A ball game in the park is a “buffet of ass.” Their lives are so deadly that a big evening out is Kathy Griffin tickets. So along comes expert relationship counselor Joy Behar (say what?), who advises the wives to give their husbands a “hall pass”–in normal Webster’s grammar, a week’s vacation from marriage vows with no strings attached. For these sex-obsessed “horny bobble heads,” this is like giving a miniature chihuahua a 5-pound box of fudge–which would undoubtedly be more fun and less homicidal than anything in Hall Pass.
At first it seems like Horny Dog Heaven. But whereas the wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) head for Cape Cod, the guys turn out to be such losers they don’t do anything but play video games. (They’re so hopeless at sex that they think the place to go to meet sluts is Applebee’s.) After moving to the sleazy Comfy Nite Inn, Rick tries to pick up bimbos with lines like “You must be from Ireland, because when I look at you, my penis is Dublin”; Fred spends most of his time masturbating in parked cars. The Farrellys’ continuing obsession with defecation runs amok; so many scenes literally focus on close-ups of the S-word that if you don’t close your eyes to keep from retching, you’re a tougher man than I, Gunga Din. When Fred brings home a trashy date with diarrhea that explodes all over the white walls, Hall Pass breaks the Disgust Meter. While Rick races to Cape Cod to rescue his wife, who has been humping a baseball player years younger than she is, Fred ends up with Rick’s baby sitter’s aunt, who turns out to be the mother of a gun-wielding mentally defective disc jockey.
But enough. Full-frontal nudity, homophobia, rampant put-downs of women, endless toilet scenes and dialogue you wouldn’t find even in back issues of the old Screw magazine make Hall Pass not only disgusting and unendurable, but filthy and boring, too. While I don’t believe there are any grown men, living or dead, who resemble the idiots in this movie, I’m told, to my horror, that there is still an audience that loves to laugh at flatulence, body functions, fluid eliminations and dirt you wouldn’t hear on a tramp steamer headed for Devil’s Island. Next time you fly, collect some of those barf bags they give away. They come in handy watching movies like Hall Pass.
Running time 98 minutes
Written by Peter and Bobby Farrelly with Pete Jones and Kevin Barnett
Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate, Jenna Fischer