Hall Pass

Hall Pass

2011, R, 98 min. Directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., March 4, 2011

The Farrelly brothers have always been hit or miss, but when they hit – in There’s Something About Mary or the underrated Stuck on You – their signature raunch is sweetly tempered by daffy high-spiritedness. But there’s nothing but bottom-feeding in Hall Pass’ cynical, tin-eared attempts to make comedy out of the seven-year-itch: Its ugh-ing offensiveness may begin with the unsophisticated, “Har, it’s a schlong!” humor, but it ends with the unendurable tedium of flat-footed plotting and shudderingly antiquated ideas about gender relations. Wilson plays Rick, a pleated-pants soccer dad with a roving eye; when his wife, Maggie (The Office’s Fischer), becomes fed up with his horndog leering, she gives him a weeklong “hall pass” from their marriage, freeing him to leer, or even cheat, to his heart’s content – the theory being that he’ll get it all out of his system and return to family life with renewed vigor. Wilson – who is so much better than this it hurts the heart a little – is a zero, a barely there bore in a film he ostensibly headlines. That, I suppose, is an improvement over co-star Sudeikis’ subzero toxicity: As another husband enjoying a week off, Sudeikis does the heavy lifting in terms of the film’s aggressively off-putting foulmouthedness. A caricature at best, but a cartoon buffoon more regularly, Sudeikis makes a poor foil for Wilson and an even worse catchphrase-trademarker (the film tries ad nauseam – emphasis on the nausea – to make a cunnilingus gag about “fake chow” catch on). Hall Pass bears all the narrative finesse and visual pizzazz of an According to Jim episode, only dun-colored with fecal propulsives tapped not once but twice for punchline value. Cruel to its women characters and careless with its men (it doesn’t even try for audience empathy), Hall Pass has half the right idea: Scratch out “Hall,” and just … pass.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Bobby Farrelly Films
Dumb and Dumber To
They're ba-ack!!!

Marjorie Baumgarten, Nov. 21, 2014

The Heartbreak Kid
Ben Stiller stars in this smart and winning remake of a 1972 Neil Simon-penned comedy about a man who falls in love with another woman on his honeymoon.

Marc Savlov, Oct. 5, 2007

More by Kimberley Jones
Official Competition
Cruz and Banderas reunite in this scathing comedy about ego and filmmaking

July 1, 2022

We Have an Issue: Struggling to Find the Words
We Have an Issue: Struggling to Find the Words
In this week's issue, we explore Austin's response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade

July 1, 2022


Hall Pass, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle