PLOT: Two guys get a week of no-questions-asked freedom from their wives.
BOTTOM LINE: Another gross-out comedy from the Farrelly brothers, made more repellent by unlikable characters
CAST: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate
There's something about "Hall Pass" that feels grosser than the usual Farrelly brothers comedy. There is a joke involving an explosion of human diarrhea, but it's not nearly as off-putting as the film's unlikable characters.
"Hall Pass" stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis ("Saturday Night Live") as Rick and Fred, sex-starved, middle-aged men married to the castrating, manipulative mother-figures Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate). On the advice of a therapist friend, Dr. Lucy (Joy Behar), the wives decide to grant their dissatisfied husbands a hall pass - one week off from the constraints of marriage, no questions asked.
The ladies are betting that their flabby fellas will realize how low their stock has dropped on the singles market, but Rick and Fred immediately begin hunting down some meaningless sex. They get off to a slow start (first stop for these out-of-practice suburbanites: Applebee's!) but eventually meet their respective temptations in a curvaceous young barista (Nicky Whelan) and an aging party-girl (Kristin Carey).
Wilson and Sudeikis engage in some hilariously crude banter, but this film is angrier and more depressed than it realizes. In a moment of rare and painful honesty, the henpecked Fred blurts out: "Doesn't it ever bother you that all our wives' dreams come true and ours don't?"
He's right. Rick and Fred are so unhappily married to such unsympathetic characters that the notion of a hall pass seems more tragic than comic. Even after the all's-well ending, it's unclear why Dr. Lucy didn't advise divorce.
Back story: Stars align for 'Hall Pass'
Owen Wilson says he was attracted to the "Hall Pass" script and the opportunity to work with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly, whose credits include "There's Something About Mary." and "Shallow Hal."
"I read the script and I thought it was really funny," he says. "They said Jason [Sudeikis] was going to be in it and we started talking." The filmmakers thought it would be funny to have Wilson, who usually plays slick, smooth-talking ladies men, depict a guy who struggles to be noticed. They gave him a tacky wardrobe, which Wilson abhorred. "When you've got pleated jeans and these kind of orthopedic-type shoes, you don't feel very sexy," he says.
Sudeikis saw an opportunity to star in a movie. He previously had supporting roles in "Going the Distance" "What Happens in Vegas" and other comedies. Fortunately, he had an understanding boss in "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels, who offered him time off to take the gig last winter. It was worth the grueling pullingdouble duty but worth it, according to Sudeikis.
"I'd do the show Saturday, fly to Atlanta , work Monday and Tuesday, fly back to New York Tuesday night, do the read-through Wednesday and fly back to Atlanta that night, work on the movie Thursday, then fly to New York on Friday, do the show again on Saturday, then repeat," he recalls.
- Entertainment News Wire