Netflix UK film review: Hall Pass
Ivan Radford | On 09, Nov 2014
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Cast: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis
Watch Hall Pass online in the UK: Netflix UK / Amazon Prime / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
It’s been a long time since There’s Something About Mary and the Farrelly Brothers haven’t aged well. In fact, they may not have not aged at all. Hall Pass is a mediocre mess of crude, gross-out rubbishness. Worst of all, there’s not a single laugh in it – unless you count one during the end credits.
It starts off alright, with Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) getting itchy pants after years of marriage to their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate). But then up pops the central premise of the movie. What’s a hall pass? Why, it’s a week off from all marital responsibility, of course! It’s not some made-up misogynistic MacGuffin. A woman even turns up and says the words “Hall Pass” over and over for five minutes, just to make sure. She’s a doctor, too, so it’s clearly a morally sound plot point. After all, that’s what Dr Lucy says. And we respect Dr Lucy. Because she’s a woman.
And so the couples split for a week, the men planning a tits, boobs and booze fest. It’s all predictable and lecherous, as Rick and Fred stand around plotting how to get into drunk women’s pants, but then the movie does a weird about-turn: while the men learn that they’re middle-aged and unattractive and decide that they love their wives, the women go off and start having affairs too.
Are we meant to cheer on their sexual freedom? Perhaps we should boo their infidelity, which justifies the men’s desire to sleep with other women in the first place. We certainly don’t give a damn about them saving their marriage – and neither do the Farrelly Brothers, who plaster over any inconsistency with lots of poo and fart jokes. There’s that bit where someone farts, that other bit when someone poos, and that classic bit where a women sneezes and poos at the same time, spraying faeces all over the bathroom wall. It’s ground-breaking stuff.
Credit should go to Sudeikis and Wilson for having charisma as the leads, but the pair do nothing with the dated script. And it would be remiss to suggest that Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer have been given anything remotely approaching a character to think about. As for Richard Jenkins floating about nightclubs as a horny old playboy, it’s hard to know what he was thinking. The same goes for Stephen Merchant, whose 1% of screentime is sorely missing the other 99%.
Trying to copy The Hangover, the Farrelly Brothers forget that what makes shallow comedies work are actual jokes. The result is 107 minutes of unfunny and coarse filmmaking. Teenage boys may well love the mix of giant members and number twos, but Hall Pass is summed up best by the latter: an exploding fountain of crap.
Hall Pass is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. It is also available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.