Published Feb 24, 2011The Farrelly Brothers (Dumb and Dumber, There's Something About Mary, Kingpin) draw on their years of comedy experience to turn what could easily have been a dull and offensive comedy into 90 minutes of solid laughs. While there's nothing particularly outstanding about Hall Pass, it never stumbles under the weight of its predictability, due in no small part to the easygoing likeability and comedic timing of stars Owen Wilson (Rick) and Jason Sudeikis (Fred).
Frustrated with losing the spark from their otherwise happy marriages, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) decide to let their husbands have a one week "hall pass" from their marriage vows. The men dust off their pick-up skills and head out on the town looking to sow their wild oats, with hilarious results. Any further description of the story would only ruin the on-screen humour, suffice it to say that Rick and Fred's lack of "game" plays a large roll in the laughs.
Wilson and Sudeikis keep their performances down to earth, never going too far over the top with their ineptitude, ensuring that their characters are, for the most part, relatable and endearing. While the majority of the comedic weight is placed squarely on the shoulders of the two leads, they get some much welcome relief from the likes of Stephen Merchant (The Office UK, Extras), Larry Joe Campbell and J.B Smoove, who help mix up the formula enough to keep the film from becoming a two-man show.
While the straightforward laughs aren't going to place Hall Pass amongst the ranks of classic Farrelly Bros. comedies like Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary, this is a perfectly serviceable late winter comedy worth a trip to the theatre for anyone looking for a break from the February blahs. (Warner)