Blu-Ray Review: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis in Mediocre ‘Hall Pass’

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CHICAGO – I SO wanted “Hall Pass” to be good. Not only do we need the men who made “There’s Something About Mary” and “Kingpin” back in prime form but the timing of their return seems perfect — who better to ride the wave of R-rated comedies inspired by the success of “The Hangover”? Sadly, “Hall Pass” is a hit-and-miss affair that falls too often on the wrong side of that comedy corridor. It’s a reasonable rental on a rainy night but not the return to form fans of the Farrelly brother’s greats were hoping for. Blu-ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

Rick (Owen Wilson) and Maggie (Jenna Fischer) are happily married with children but they’re starting to face typical problems of people in that situation. Kids and family can take priority over passion. And, like a lot of guys, Rick has wandering eyes. Also like a lot of men, he thinks he could probably get laid if his wedding vows weren’t holding him back. He would never cheat, but he thinks about other women. Like most guys.

Hall Pass was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 14th, 2011
Hall Pass was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 14th, 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Fred (Jason Sudeikis) is even more aggressive about his ogling and seems more likely to step out on his lovely wife Grace (Christina Applegate) although he seems too goofy to get laid in the era of sexting. So, like many Middle-American men, Rick and Fred talk about how much they would pay to bang a Hawaiian Tropic girl (with poker/golf buddies played by Larry Joe Campbell, Stephen Merchant, and J.B. Smoove) and ogle the insanely-sexy chick at the coffee shop named Leigh (Nicky Whelan).

Rick and Fred make asses of themselves a few times and, instead of berating them yet again, Maggie and Grace decide to do the unthinkable — they give their husbands a week off from marriage. The kids are gone, the wives are out of town — do what you want with no questions asked. Bizarrely, the boys decide to go to Applebee’s and play golf stoned while the ladies go to a place more likely to produce sexual canoodling as they head to Cape Cod. Will any of the four cheat on their week off from marriage? Will any of them learn lessons? The answers may surprise you.

Hall Pass was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 14th, 2011
Hall Pass was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 14th, 2011
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

There are enough funny moments and enough left turns in Pete Jones’ script that it nearly comes together. The Farrellys used to be the king of finding the unexpected joke that would hit the funny bone with just the right balance of believability and ridiculousness. There are some very funny scenes, lines, and moments in “Hall Pass.” There just aren’t enough of them. They don’t add up into an entertaining whole as the film never finds its rhythm, in no small part to another lazy performance from Owen Wilson (who is SO much better in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” that future generations will be stunned these films came out the same year). The jokes in “Mary” feel organic to the plot. They feel forced here.

A few forced laughs is far from the greatest sin a comedy Blu-ray can commit. Just laughing at all counts for something. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself wishing “Hall Pass” added up to something more. It’s not quite a comedy “pass,” nor is it a “fail.” We’ll call it incomplete.

Special Features:
o An Outrageous Additional Scene
o Hilarious Gag Reel
o DVD Copy
o Digital Copy

“Hall Pass” stars Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, and Richard Jenkins. It was written by Pete Jones & Peter Farrelly & Kevin Barnett & Bobby Farrelly and directed by the Farrelly Brothers. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 14th, 2011 and is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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