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hall pass
Click for full sized poster

Hall Pass

Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Richard Jenkins and Christina Applegate
Screenplay by Pete Jones & Peter Farrelly & Kevin Barnett & Bobby Farrelly;
Story by Pete Jones
Directed by Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly

IN SHORT: The Farrelly Brothers take on marriage . . . [Rated R for crude and sexual humor throughout, language, some graphic nudity and drug use. 105 minutes

We haven't heard the expression "hall pass" since we were in high school. Then it meant you could scoot around the halls, usually to the bathroom, while class was in session. In the hands of the Farrelly Brothers the expression now means a week off from marriage. We'll come back to that train of thought in a paragraph or two.

With The Farrelly Brothers in charge, we can run down a list of what we expect:

Is it funny? Pretty much. Will the humor be rude? As all get out. Will there be nudity? You bet. Will there be gross out moments? Let's just say our audience gasped in disbelief at least once. Is there a point to all of this? Well, yeah. As over the top as the Brothers go, they usually have a point. That their take on the institution of marriage takes said institution apart from various angles . . . well, it's the Farrelly Brothers. And their script (with Pete Jones and Kevin Barnett) actually makes good sense.

Let us begin with two happy loving and married for, like, ever couples: Rick (Owen Wilson) and Maggie (Jenna Fischer) have a passel of single digit kidlets. Fred (Jason Sudeikis) and Grace (Christina Applegate) do not. One sells real estate. One guy sells insurance. Both have hit that stage of middle age where they wonder about their appeal to the fairer sex -- not that either has any grand desire to cheat on their wives. They're envious of a single friend named Coakley (Richard Jenkins) who, apparently, has nothing better to do than jet around the world, bedding whoever isn't nailed down. So, they like to look at or comment on anything else female and attractive that passes by, though neither is smart enough not to do it when the wife is around. Lucky for them, the wives aren't around when the lovely Leigh (Nicky Whelan), a roll-over-and-beg goddess from Down Under, serves up the morning coffee at a local shoppe called The Drip.

The wives don't particularly care for that practice -- the gawking, not the morning coffee (not that they've ever seen the talented barista). When Maggie overhears a classic "who would you do if ..." conversation during a poker game with said hubbies and their friends, she is understandably upset. There will be another event that will expose that middle aged conundrum to everyone but we'll leave that for you to experience. Luckily, Maggie and Grace have a famous friend, one Dr.. Lucille Gilbert (Joy Behar), who passes on a bit of advice that worked for her own marriage: Give the hubbies a week of freedom to behave as if there is no wife or family or obligation whatsoever. Let them go hog wild and never, ever speak of whatever (happens) during that Week of Freedom.

The wives and kids drive off to a vacation house. The men are set free. The film then parodies a famous NBC television series (you'll get it when you see it) as the boys go off hunting. cheered on by their pals who don't have the same sort of deal.

No one, of course, remembers the old catchphrase "turnabout is fair play." Or perhaps Cranky is dating himself. The title alone is a good indicator of who the target audience is for the film -- anyone of parental age, with or without kids would probably be more familiar with "Time Out" (and there's a baseball team coincidentally playing near that vacation house and we've said too much. Besides, the Farrelly's formula is one which has elements that get tiresome after a while. That is if you see every one of 'em.

But we've seen every one of 'em and we're close to the old fart generation so we appreciate goddess nudity and let's leave it at that.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hall Pass, he would have paid . . .


Oh, we forgot gratuitous comic violence, lunatic partying and the Wizard of Oz moment. Check, Check and more Check. Not necessarily in that order

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.