Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Hall Pass

Let's Rock This Joint!

Mention the Farrelly Brothers, and There's Something About Mary springs to mind almost immediately. Known for their rather raunchy brand of comedic films such as The Heartbreak Kid starring Ben Stiller, their latest film Hall Pass takes a dig at stable, married lives by introducing the titular concept of getting a mutually agreed upon break from marriage to do anything you please. Anything. And to the average Joe, this probably means to boldly go hook up with members of the opposite sex, getting drunk and wasted, and more. Or is it?

I cannot answer on behalf of married men out there, but surely the thought of this is pretty enticing, with family responsibilities shelved aside of course and the shackles to commitment being broken. But for best friends Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis), having a six day pass in their hands as given by their wives Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) respectively means a window of so many opportunities being opened, one doesn't know where to start, as the days zip by one by one in episodic fashion that counts down the type of shenanigans the guys get themselves into. One thing's for sure though, trying too hard brings about plenty of laughter, though I can feel for the challenges faced when being rejected left, right and center. being toothless, domesticated predators thrown into the wild to seek out easy prey ripe for the picking.

As an adult oriented comedy, expect the usual bag of jokes that stem from rude lines of dialogue (insulting an uppity mutual friend and his family got brownie points), plenty of bodily fluids released on screen (you will never forget that scene with the girl at the edge of the bathtub), enough body parts on display including male genitalia, and sometimes plain slapstick action, but don't judge me when I say I enjoyed almost every single joke that made it through, right up until the end of the credits - so don't leave your seat just yet when the credits start to roll.

But those looking for a raunchy good time as the Farrelly's are known for, may find this film a wee bit disappointing, as much as how one character lamented that in a group gathering that they aren't seeing enough woman action since they're but a bunch of dudes getting together talking about geeky stuff. And in essence, this film does feel that way, even hitting one for the other side. You may think that a Hall Pass means a guy given the permission to do as he pleases, but the truth is that it works both ways as well, with the wives also enjoying some time off with some jocks, and this forms the other half of the equation in the film, which actually has a lot more provocative issues thrown into the works that make the men's shenanigans look like child's play.

It's a very different Owen Wilson role here, as his usual characters usually have him in a cavalier sort of demeanour and being the chief jokester. Here, the first thing you'll notice is the very prim and proper hairdo he gets as Rick, and really toning down the alpha male aspects to become the meek and mild mannered man having absolutely no idea how to live up to his fantasies. Taking over as chief prankster is Jason Sudeikis who shows that he can hold his own in what would be a typical Owen Wilson shoo in as Fred, the man who thinks he has everything figured out, not. The pair when they come together create some comedic magic, but the best of the lot would be when Richard Jenkins enters the fray as their womanizing mentor Coakley, which is the most entertaining character in the film, with Jenkins completely playing against type, and is one of the prime reasons to sit through this comedy.

True that it's probably due to age that I'm beginning to find comedies which have middle aged characters entering a crisis a lot more appealing, perhaps reflecting and addressing similar anxieties I can identify with from time to time, so much so that I'll put this as one of the best comedies of the year thus far, that is recommended for viewing. And stay put while the end credits roll, as you'll be richly rewarded with two additional hilarious clips.

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