MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis play middle-aged husbands who are given a “hall pass” from their wives for a week. This allows them to do whatever they want – and whomever they want – for six days without fear or consequence.
WHAT I LIKED
Like many red-blooded American males, I was really into the Farrelly Brothers in the 1990s, after a string of hits included “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary.” They were the new comedians of a modern age, and they showed a lot of promise. However, when the 2000s struck, and we got films like “Stuck On You,” “Fever Pitch” and “The Heartbreak Kid,” things looked pretty grim.
“Hall Pass” doesn’t redeem these formerly funny brothers. However, it does deliver some funny moments. I suppose this is better than “The Heartbreak Kid,” which had no funny moments, or “Fever Pitch” and “Stuck on You,” which didn’t even deliver in the T&A department.
The funniest moments in “Hall Pass” don’t come from its main cast, but rather from the supporting roles. Larry Joe Campbell as Hog Head has the funniest lines. Yeah, a lot of them are poop lines, but when it comes to body humor, I’m relatively easy to please. Also, Stephen Merchant has some hilarious moments, most notably in the too-little-too-late brilliant post-credits sequence. But those are worth checking out at least in a rental.
Finally, and this is a totally misogynistic point to make, the character of Leigh is played by Nickey Whelan, whom some might remember as the smoking hot Australian babe in the final season of “Scrubs.” Leigh is the object of Owen Wilson’s character’s affection, and there’s a fantastic topless scene with her. Yes, this is how I now judge a Farrelly Brothers comedy. You get to see tits, and that is a good thing.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Where this movie falls apart is the inability of the Farrelly Brothers to remain edgy. They have a ridiculous but workable premise. (Of course, I wouldn’t suggest anyone trying to get a hall pass from their wife or girlfriend if you aren’t prepared for a stiff kick in the nuts and a few nights sleeping on the sofa.) But the premise sets up a very different story than this film becomes.
Like previous Farrelly Brothers films like “There’s Something About Mary” and “Fever Pitch,” the directors try to put some heart into the picture. However, with the set-up, the heart they give to the characters just seems silly at best and contrived at worst. What we get at the end of the movie doesn’t quite match the set-up. The characters are presented as big ladies men from college, but a short 15 years later, they think that Applebee’s is a great place to meet women?
Then there’s the bevy of scenes that looked good on paper but play out so awkwardly that the comedy is lost. Jason Sudeikis masturbating in a minivan might have sounded funny in the writer’s room, but it just doesn’t make sense or play to any level of humor in the film itself.
The script is less than half-baked, and the Farrellys seem afraid to stick to an edge. The days of “Dumb and Dumber” are over, unless these brothers can find a way to bring the raw comedy back without a desire to make everyone happy in the end.
The Blu-ray comes with the DVD as well as a Digital Copy disc. Special features are rather thin, presenting a deleted scene with the hilarious but woefully miscast Richard Jenkins. Finally, there’s a gag reel on the disc for a behind-the-scenes look at the film.
Oh, and Nickey Whelan’s boobies. Yeah, that’s part of the movie, but it’s worth mentioning again.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who are forgiving of half-baked comedies.