Hall Pass (R16)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/03/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

The latest comedy from the Farrelly Brothers has more than its fair share of misfires and offensive moments but it ultimately scrapes a pass thanks to strong comic performances, a handful of decent laughs and the fact that the script actually manages to make the central relationship work.

What's it all about?
Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Hall Pass stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as Rick and Fred, two happily married forty-ish best friends who keep getting caught checking out other women, much to the displeasure of their wives Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate). When a psychologist friend advises Maggie and Grace to give their husbands a temporary Hall Pass from all the responsibilities of marriage (including fidelity), they agree, though Rick half suspects that it might be some sort of trap.

When the wives head off to a beach resort, the men are excited about their new-found freedom but they soon find that they're not the super-smooth lotharios they might (or might not) have been in their younger days. Meanwhile, the wives both find themselves the recipients of male attention and realise that the Hall Pass concept works both ways ...

The Good
Wilson is perfectly cast as the likeable, dopey Rick and Sudeikis is equally good fun as his goofy, foul-mouthed best friend (even if some of his lines are genuinely repulsive); there's also strong comic support from the likes of Stephen Merchant (whose mid-credits gag at the end is the best scene in the film) and J.B. Smoove as their envious buddies. Fischer and Applegate aren't given quite as much to do, but they spark nicely off their husbands and each other, while Alexandra Daddario and Nicky Whelan both do a good job of fleshing out their ostensible temptress/eye candy roles.

The Farrellys have always attempted to blend sweet-natured characters and the grossest of gross-out humour, with varying degrees of success. While Hall Pass might not be on the level of their best films, it's at least better than the likes of The Heartbreak Kid, largely because the characters are likeable and the script somehow manages to make the central relationships work.

The Bad
It's fair to say that there are a lot of jokes that either fall horribly flat or are woefully misguided, but there are also a handful of very funny gags, even if you might feel guilty for laughing afterwards.

Worth seeing?
Despite some borderline offensive misfires, Hall Pass is just about worth seeing, thanks to strong comic performances, likeable characters and some laugh-out-loud gags.

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Hall Pass (R16)
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Content updated: 20/11/2019 02:25

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