Friends Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) have loving wives Maggie and Grace, (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) and, in Rick's case, a couple of kids. After catching their husbands eyeing other women's butts, making rude remarks in front of friends, and so on, the ladies decide to offer them "hall passes"--an entire week during which they can pretend they're not married and do whatever they want, no questions asked, while the wives are away. Directed by the Farrelly Brothers.
Anyone familiar with the work of writer-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly, especially There's Something About Mary, will be neither surprised nor shocked by the raunchy, gross-out gags that permeate Hall Pass. But what Farrelly fans might not expect is what comes at the other end of the spectrum--namely, a tender, even sentimental point of view in which marriage is sanctified and even a couple of delusional doofuses end up on the right side of righteousness. Buddies Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) have attractive, loving wives (Maggie and Grace, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, respectively) and, in Rick's case, a couple of cute kids. But boys will be boys, and after catching their husbands eyeing other women's butts, making rude remarks in front of friends, and so on, the ladies decide to offer them "hall passes"--an entire week during which they can pretend they're not married and do whatever they want, no questions asked, while the wives head for Cape Cod. Rick, for one, is nonplussed; here is a decent guy who refuses to buy beer for his underage babysitter (not to mention resisting her flirtatious come-ons) and generally tries to do the right thing, and he suspects there's more than meets the ear to Maggie's offer (Fred, on the other hand, expects to spend the week scoring young hotties with lines like "You must be from Ireland, 'cos when I look at you my penis is Dublin"). But while Maggie and Grace find themselves courted by some studly minor-league baseball dudes, Rick and Fred mostly just strike out. Their shenanigans are accompanied by a parade of typically sophomoric Farrelly gags: penis jokes (and a couple of real penises), masturbation jokes, scatological jokes, "I'm so stoned" marijuana jokes, and sexual terms (like "eye banging" and "fake chow") that can't be explained on a family website. Some of this is funny, most merely dumb; some viewers will think the humor goes too far, others not far enough. But the overriding impression is that a decade or more past their biggest hits, the Farrellys, who are now in their 50s, have grown up--at least a little. --Sam Graham