The Farrelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby) have forged a place in cinema history for gross-out comedies, that are often riotously funny. Their new one, “Hall Pass,” leans more toward the gross and less to the funny.
Unlike their inspired “Shallow Hall,” “Hall Pass” has a comic concept that is not only weak, but somewhat sad: Two middle-aged, middle-class married men Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (SNL’s Jason Sudeikis) are given a so-called, “Hall Pass,” from their respective wives, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate), to go wild for a week, released from all marital restrictions. As introduced by couples-counseling guru Dr. Lucy (Joy Behar), the idea is that their over-the-hill hubbies will soon realize that they’ll fall flat in the swinging single scene. They will come crawling back with their tails (and something else) hanging limp between their legs.
The problem is…that is what happens. In fact, without even trying, the wives have more success with the always lecherous single guys. Along the way, the Farrellys provide a few good gags and, for those whose taste is bad taste, a couple of eye–and-ear popping yuck moments. A “good gag” is one where the guys prepare to launch their first wild night and find that they’re ready for beddy-by at 9:30 p.m. after a big Applebee’s dinner. “Gross-outs” include a female pickup with explosive diarrhea and Rick’s hot tub rescue by two radically different endowed naked men.
It should be noted that at a screening in Rockville Centre, an irresponsible mom in need of a babysitter deposited under-age boys and girls in the theater and snuck out the exit door, this being an R-rated movie. The gross-out images will live in those kids’ subconscious for a long time. Adults will have trouble exorcising those images as well. My advice is to pass on “Hall Pass.”