Monday, April 18, 2011

Hall Pass - 2011

"Hall Pass" - 2011
Dir. by the Farrelly Brothers - 1 hr. 45 min.

I did a little research, and saw that this was the first Farrelly Brothers movie I've seen in literally a decade (the last one I'd watched was 2001's "Shallow Hal").  Comedy movies go through phases, where one guy or one crew of guys dominate for a period of time.  The Farrelly brothers had that distinction for the mid- to late-90's ("Dumb and Dumber," "Kingpin," and "There's Something About Mary" are about as tight of a three-film run in comedy that I can remember), but they've been eclipsed by the Apatow explosion since then.

What I liked about this movie:  the Farrelly brothers still know how to build a humor scene up, and then keep pushing things until it's a classic.  There's an early scene that involves stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis being watched on security cameras that is hilarious, a golf course sequence, and a later scene involving a stalker-ish character that works really well, too.  And the actors in this film do a good job of taking the rest of the material and keeping it afloat, even if the material isn't up to those three sequences.  I think that it might have been a more interesting movie if it had flipped the focus to Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer's characters over Wilson and Sudeikis', though.  I know that there are rarely female buddy movies, but those two could not only pull it off, but stand a good chance of making it awesome as well.

Nitpicking:  Wilson and Sudeikis have a posse for about half of the movie, and then when they say they're going home because they're bored, they completely disappear.  And I mean gone - none of them show up again.  That's okay, aside from the golf scene, they're not nearly as funny as Wilson and Sudeikis.  My other problem is that I often intensely dislike films that glorify marriage and family.  It's tough to pull off without being saccharine or just plain stupid, and I know that embracing the opposite would be veering into Jody Hill/Danny McBride territory.  I guess this film pulled it off as well as it could, but there was never much doubt as to how the various characters' situations would play out.

Criticism always sounds harsher than praise, and I did enjoy "Hall Pass."  It fits in well with the Farrelly Brothers' post-"Mary" work, which you'd have to decide for yourself how much praise that is.

2.5 / 5 - Theatre

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