Release Date: February 25, 2011
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Writer: Peter Jones, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Kevin Barnett
Cast: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Merchan, Larry Joe Campbell, Bruce Thomas, Tyler Hoechlin, Derek Waters, Alexandra Daddario, Rob Moran, Lauren Bowles, Christa Beth Campbell, Macsen Lintz.
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes
Studio: New Line Cinema, Conundrum Entertainment
Genre: Comedy, Romance
When two childhood friends are constantly caught conversing in dirty male dialogue, gawking at other women, masturbating in public, and leaving trails of pornography throughout their homes, their wives become furious. Frustrated by their husbands’ behavior, they’re desperate to find the perfect solution. Assuming they have the perfect answer to rid their spouses of all their ridiculous sexual fantasies, they grant their husbands a “HALL PASS.” A “Hall Pass” is defined as seven days of freedom from marriage, without any of the consequences of guilt.
Confident at first, the wives soon regret letting their husbands off the leash. Right from the start, the boys are overjoyed like it’s a gift from heaven. They hit the ground running like it’s their first day in college eager to get a new piece of tail. The guys are blinded by the illusion that if their wives weren’t in the picture, having sex with random beautiful women will be as easy as obtaining water from the tap. They soon realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew. On the flip side, it dawns on them; their wives may have a “HALL PASS” as well. Reality hits and everyone realizes what’s most important to him or her. It’s a comedic mystery to see who will go all the way with their new pass to an assumed freedom.
Taken from a viewpoint by both men and women with the mindset that men will have sex with anything, the public’s interest is piqued. Then involve talented actors, surround them with hilarious accounts of typical male behavior, sexual frustrations, extreme vulgarity, and realistic sexual liaisons, and it equals high quality entertainment. Putting all that together, it’s brutally hilarious, and it will have you laughing vigorously from start to finish.
Rick (Owen Wilson), our main star, is likeable from the beginning. He’s a man who loves his two children, wife Maggie (Jenna Fischer), and just wants to be the best father and husband he can possibly be. Reminiscing through his younger days by flipping through photo albums with his children, you see how life has taken its toll on him, and being the best husband and father is not an easy task. Besides his responsibilities of parenthood, he just wants to have sex with his wife on occasion like any other married man. Though every time a window of opportunity appears, it immediately shuts at the last possible second from uncontrollable mishaps. Fred (Jason Sudeikis), Rick’s best friend brings the majority of the humor to this story. With his potty mouth, he’s like the little devil on Rick’s shoulder always getting him into trouble. He also can’t have an orgasm if he tried because he is blindsided by every distraction known to man. It’s partially his fault for not going 100% in the bedroom in his recent years of marriage, which his wife Grace (Christina Applegate) won’t let go. A few male companions that add their own power punch of comedy also accompany Rick and Fred. I consider them the hype men trio of peer pressure. With every opportunity Fred and Rick get to check out other women, they feel they have a solution to every peep possible, without being caught by their wives. Unfortunately for Fred and Rick, Maggie and Grace have them figured out more than they know themselves, so it just leaves the two horn toads embarrassed on a day to day basis. You can empathize with Maggie and Grace as well. All they want is a little romance. In turn, they would probably be more willing to increase the acrobatics in the bedroom. It’s all a misunderstanding from a lack of communication and it does stir up trouble.
After Maggie and Grace bust their husbands, they’re caught discussing personal issues about their marriages with their buddies at the poker table. Rick and Fred still manage to make it to the Super Bowl of disrespectful, dirty, locker room talk that puts them on center stage in front of multiple couples at a friendly get together. In desperate need of a solution, this is what sends Maggie and Grace over the edge. They receive advice from an old friend of a ‘HALL PASS’ and are under the impression their problems are solved.
Mistakenly they don’t feel their husbands will actually take advantage of this new freedom but treat it as a placebo instead. Many think that if you tell someone you can’t do something then they want it more, but if you allow them to participate at whatever’s at stake they won’t care about it. Unfortunately Maggie and Grace’s attempts at reverse psychology misfire. Rick and Fred attempt to take full advantage of the situation with the mindset that they will bang every woman in sight. Even more humor comes into play when Fred and Rick realize that they haven’t been on the open market since college, and are completely out of shape. So they ramble through pages of the lamest pick up lines you’ve ever heard and it couldn’t be funnier. They then appear at the wrong venues for such activities like Applebee’s and Chili’s trying to pick up women. All this does is leave them with drinks in their faces, bruised testicles, and black eyes. With their trio of friends on the sidelines trying to root them on, they even think about giving up because they feel there’s no hope. After a few days, Rick and Fred gather up some mojo and it’s seems they will finally pull through. At times they are not even trying to obtain women. They just want to relax and take a load off while their wives are out of the picture. These plans are still shot to hell with incidents and images that will have you rolling on the floor laughing, but also turning your head from the screen in hilarious disbelief. It’s hysterical to see what happens to this group of men just trying to live it up for a week.
Moving on, things do seem promising for our heroes. They take deep breaths and start to put together a plausible game plan that looks like it will pan out. On the other end of the spectrum, their wives are not just at home playing opossum. They realize this is an opportunity for them to go out and have some fun of their own. Their escapades aren’t as funny as Rick and Fred’s endeavors, but you start to wonder who will go all the way with their free pleasure pass. One thing I must say is, at times, it feels like there are too many jokes. While the next joke is on deck, I missed enjoying it because I was still laughing at the last one. So, I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing. After all is said and done, everyone comes together to exchange war stories. Some people will walk out of the theater happy, while others will be slightly disappointed with the outcome.
The only thing I will complain about is everything that I wanted to happen towards the end did not take place. It didn’t ruin the film, but it would have given it a near perfect score. The last 20 minutes of the film might be considered ridiculous, so I had to take points away for that. Still it’s a hilarious account of sex, marriage, and everything else that you will find funny. Other than the last few minutes of the film, there’s nothing else I would ask for.
Bobby and Peter Farrelly, Pete Jones, and Kevin Barnett did a fantastic job directing and writing this film. It’s been a while since the Farrellys put something this entertaining together, so two thumbs up for them. With my expectations being high for this film, I still laughed long and hard, and it’s been a while since that’s happened. This film can be seen by anyone of appropriate age. It will definitely generate hours of discussion. It’s a MUST SEE, but that’s Just My Opinion