Release: Friday, February 25, 2011
I finally got around to seeing this in my apartment thanks to my roommate’s Netflix. I remember seeing previews for this awhile ago, but then I forgot, like I have with so many other good movies, to check it out. As it turns out, a free viewing proves just as good. This movie was somewhat easy to review..
You need not know any more than the basic premise of this reckless joke-a-thon to know its not a so-called ‘realistic’ movie.
Give two men in their mid-to-late-thirties some time off from their marriages and let them “do what they want.” Clearly, this isn’t a good date movie. It’s what could be defined as a ‘fantasy movie’ because at times the things the two men say or do borders on the absolutely ridiculous. At times indeed these guys really do give men a bad name everywhere. On the flip side of that coin though, it means that the ladies can do whatever they want. Grace lays on the charm with an attractive baseball player, while Rick’s wife becomes involved with the baseball coach, who is obviously quite a bit older than she is.
Owen Wilson gives a solid performance, playing as per usual the winningly ‘nice guy,’ despite the fact that he lusts after the hot barista at the local coffee shop, Leigh. Jason Sudeikis is convincingly desperate as Fred. Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate complement the cast well as the wives of Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) respectively.
Rick appears at first as the guy more reluctant to leave his wife. For him the day-to-day of married life seemed like a cushy norm, and had been for awhile, now that he has the chance to see it without his wife and child around. Contrarily, Fred openly embraces the opportunity and immediately establishes himself as the alpha male and/or possible jackass. However, as the movie goes on Rick begins to want to be with Leigh, and encounters a few ridiculous attacks from her lunatic coworker along the way, including a horrific vandalizing of Fred’s minivan, and gunshots.
Stephen Merchant makes an excellent addition in his role as Gary, a slightly screwy British man also interested in this idea of a ‘hall pass,’ but who cannot exercise it for one reason or another. (I was unclear of whether or not he was in a relationship himself, just that he was a hilarious character…)
Hall Pass does seem to teeter on the verge of being a bit too serious for its own good at times, however. The moments that are not heavily saturated in testosterone as Fred and Rick hound after women they’d rather have sex with, are starkly serious and leave you feeling guilty for even having sided with the protagonists in the beginning.
Nevertheless they are necessary scenes that somewhat ground the movie from becoming a bit too over-the-top, prevent it from harkening towards the likes of an old-man National Lampoon installment.
It’s a kick in the face to see how perverted these two guys are (well, for that matter, every single male in the film pretty much) and what they will do to try and prove they would possibly be better off had they never gotten married. In truth, most of what they do is supposed to be hard to watch — they are hapless fools in their early forties/late thirties! The entire experiment is both ridiculous and hilarious, and simply should not be taken for anything more than that.
Recommendation: See it (after a pint of beer!!) Nah, but really go check it out. Its a good laugh, despite the rather predictable plot and unoriginal and unrealistic conclusion. Not the most appropriate film you’d want to take a date to, but a great one with the boys. Especially if you’re off the market (and prepared to watch a totally unrealistic movie).
Running Time: 105 mins.