‘Hall Pass’, a comedy that fails to pass (IANS English film review, Rating * and 1/2)March 5th, 2011 - 2:17 pm ICT by IANS
Film: “Hall Pass”; Directors: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly; Actors: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate; Rating: * and 1/2
The plot of this film is every married man’s dream. Sadly, despite beginning promisingly, “Hall Pass” loses it way, drags along caught as it is in a quagmire of cliche and old morality of relationships, and ends in a whimper. Comedy, did the filmmaker say? “Hall Pass” is a tragedy of failure. And it’s a shame considering its heart was in the right place.
Old buddies Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) get something from their wives, most married men can only fantasize about. The wives, fed up of their staring at other women, give them a week long hall pass - a break from marriage where they can do anything they want to do.
The men are ecstatic and reminiscence their young days when picking up girls was easy. What these long-married men don’t realize is that that was a long time back. As the days roll on, they fail to ’score’. Before the end of the week, the two however, get their chance. But do they go ahead with it, and cheat on their wives? Meanwhile, what are the wives up to?
“Hall Pass” could have been Ernst Lubitsch’s ‘Design For Living’ for our times - the film that hid in the womb of its comedy, a commentary on its time and a protest against morality that is still relevant. Pandering instead to the normal middle-class morality, the film loses its sheen and humour. The film confuses fidelity with love, despite at places disassociating the two when an elderly woman talks about her experience of giving her husband a hall pass that spruced up their marriage.
Hence, instead of our main couple Rick and Maggie, it is the side-kick couple Fred and Grace, both of whom cheat on each other during the week that actually adds to the little fun quotient of the film.
In the end, both the couple pairs realize their love for their partner: an expected ending, but an end that could have been reached after taking a different route. Instead it takes the route of a morality, that even for a country like India, does not seem real. Thus, despite their best intentions, the Farrelly brothers fail in their execution.
And that is a big shame, considering the wide array of experience the brothers have right from directing hilarious capers like “There’s Something About Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber” among many others, both of which just like this one the brothers also wrote themselves. Obviously, leveraging on their own experience is not one of their core strengths.
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Tags: bobby farrelly, christina applegate, couple pairs, elderly woman, english film, ernst lubitsch, jason sudeikis, jenna fischer, married man, married men, old buddies, owen wilson, peter farrelly, picking up girls, quagmire, reminiscence, rick owen, side kick, whimper, woman talks