Thursday, February 24, 2011


Still from Hall Pass
The Premise of the Warner Bros. Comedy is rather unconventional. Best Friends Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) have been married to their Wives Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) seemingly forever. Bored in their marriages, with their Wives fed-up with their wandering eyes, finally they are granted permission to have extra-marital relations for one week.

They learn soon that Freedom isn't so liberating after all.  Having been "off-the-market" for a while, they find they are actually slow to attract the Women they want.  Meanwhile, their Wives are having their share of fun, meeting their share of Suitors while away from their Husbands. What will come of these marriages by the end of their week-long Hall Passes, we wonder?

Hall Pass is well-intentioned in that it aims to offer an edgy new twist to the time-tested values of Monogamy, starting off on a bright note.  Where it falls flat though is its predictable, twists taking fewer risks than hoped for, and trying too hard perhaps to tug on heartstrings.  Also its obvious fishing for laughter through overt gaudiness somehow hinders it rather than helping it excel, stealing the focus from what should really matter - the story.

A much more filled-out Owen Wilson delivers ably here as a Good Guy/Average Joe and Oscar-nominated Richard Jenkins shockingly is funny as a Sleazebag. The likable Jenna Fischer's Maggie struggles a bit with a one-dimensionally written character which sees her sulking perpetually. Christina Applegate and Jason Sudeikis are written so far apart from one another that what results is a lack of spark needed to convince us that they are good together. British import Stephan Merchant provides some memorable laughs in a few latently Bisexual moments, but alas appears far too little a time.

The Farrelly Brothers garner laughter through a copious display of Male Genitalia, plus Masturbation and Fecal Jokes.  If this is not your type of humour, this one might not be for you.  If you can stomach it, you just might be amused by the antics and really, aren't most of us desensitized already to be drawn to a story like this?  Released through Warner Bros., Hall Pass hits theatres Friday, February 25, 2011Grade: B-

To see some Photos from the Toronto Premiere of Hall Pass, attended by the likes of Bobby Farrelly and Woody Harrelson, click here.

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