Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Starring Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate.
The Farrelly brothers have given us Shallow Hal, Dumb And Dumber, There’s Something About Mary and Me, Myself & Irene. So here you have another such slapstick comedy that can be considered in bad taste to some but it has a surprising little message about men and women in there.
Owen Wilson may be a tad weird what with that crooked nose of his and the blond hair and the slightly cocky Zen-like attitude he portrays on screen. But he has been without a doubt a treat to watch, the saving grace in many comedies-gone-wrong and someone who really does have an inner light that shines through even in his cameo performances. Clearly an actor who deserves some dues.
First, let me say that I watched The Way Back (read review) just before this film and so after the languorous and serious pace of that film I was quite happy to let loose in Hall Pass and its naughty premise. What’s the hall pass, you ask? In this case the two wives Maggie (Fischer) and Grace (Applegate) give their husbands Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) respectively a week off from marriage to do whatever they please, which in their husbands’ minds is to have lots of pussy and debauchery in equal measure. Little do they realise something that their wives shortly do: when the husbands are away, the girls can play!
Introducing each day of their week of liberation is a slide saying ‘Day 1’, ‘Day 2’ etc with the exact music cue played before each section in the episodes of Law & Order: SVU (remember it?). Hilarious, I say. But Rick and Fred and their geeky friends are a tad inept at pulling in the ladies. Pick up lines to the effect, “I’m from Ireland and looking at you my penis is Dublin” are tried out to what effect, you can imagine. In a way, the boys seem reluctant initially, showing that men are mostly, all talk and no cock!
On the other side of the men-behaving-badly hilarity and crude bodily function humour are the two pretty wives enjoying time off at Cape Cod with hunky baseball players and a charming coach. Ah the irony of it all. While the guys are chasing tail, the girls are being wooed.
There’s nothing new here by way of humour, slapstick or otherwise. It’s crude, vulgar, perverted and well, just like guys would behave given the right circumstances. But it’s interesting to watch the Farrelly brothers and Wilson delve into the psyche of men nowadays. Of relationships that aren’t working out the way they used to. Of compromises and sacrifices. Of options and variety. Of the fear of losing one’s youth. Sure the end is full of the typical ‘happily-ever-after’ reconciliation that happens rarely in today’s world. But that all depends on how well two people can forgive, forget and give each other space.