Friday, March 4, 2011

Hall Pass

I firmly believe that praise due is praise deserved.  So let’s get this out of the way first.  There’s a scene in Hall Pass that takes place in a hotel bathroom that is, in no uncertain terms, one of the funniest scenes I have ever witnessed in film.  When I saw Hall Pass, there were five other guys in the large theatre with me.  But after that scene, there could’ve been 500.

I rarely laugh out loud in movies.  If something is really funny, I’ll sit there and think, “Yeah… that’s funny,” and I’ll probably laugh about it later.  After the bathroom scene, I was laughing so hard that I was struggling to catch my breath for several minutes. 

That scene is worth the price of admission alone, and I’m honestly considering seeing the movie again with a packed house, just to listen to the reaction.

Now, you may guess where I’m going: that scene is pretty much the only good thing about Hall Pass, the new comedy from gross-out kings Peter and Bobby Farrelly.  The Brothers Farrelly struck gold with their first film, Dumb and Dumber, by and large one of the stupidest, most hilarious movies of recent memory.  They found critical and commercial success with There’s Something About Mary, but what since?  Me, Myself & Irene had a few solid gags.  But Shallow Hal?  Stuck on You?  The Heartbreak Kid?  Lame.

Hall Pass is about two married middle aged dudes (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) whose wives, fed up with their husbands' constant horniness, give them a week off from marriage to flex their inner frat boy.  

The resulting message is, of course, didactic and boring: the guys are no longer the studs they were in college; getting laid ain’t too easy when you’ve been out of the game for so long.

The antics the two men get into throughout the week – consuming impossibly potent pot brownies, skimming the talent at Applebee’s, getting wasted and trying lame pickup lines – all fall flat because they’re all old gimmicks. 

In short, Hall Pass is just another run-of-the-mill, I'm-a-bored-married-man farce.  But if you’re in the mood for a good laugh (even if it’s just one) I promise that scene I mentioned earlier will in no way let you down.  The hotel bathroom scene: A+, the rest of the film: D+.

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