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HALL PASS

SYNOPSIS:
When Rick (Owen Wilson) and his best friend Fred (Jason Sudeikis) start showing signs of restlessness at home, their wives Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) take a friend's advice to put some juice into their marriages, giving them a Hall Pass for a week, when there will be no questions asked. But when Rick and Fred try out their newfound freedom, they find that the single life and being on the prowl is definitely not what they expected.

Review by Louise Keller:
There are a few cringes in this Farrelly Brothers comedy in which marriage and commitment are chaotically tossed into the hypothetical tumble dryer. Masturbation, oral sex, breasts, vaginas, penises and chocolate hash brownies are some of the ingredients that swirl together in the hot air of this relationship roller-coaster, reminding us of the age-old proverb about the grass and how green it may look if it ain't in your own paddock. It's funny in parts and while the gross out comedy takes a stab at tackling more mature subject matter, it's lightweight and never goes beyond the predictable.

Owen Wilson always reminds me of an affable puppy dog on screen and here he is good value as the well-meaning husband and father who jumps at the chance of having a week off from the commitment of marriage. When the film begins, we quickly understand how the humdrum of everyday married life with three young children has curbed sex and romance for Rick (Wilson) and Maggie (Fischer). Lustful fantasies over a poker game, overheard through a baby monitor are one of the triggers that set Rick and best friend Fred (Sudeikis) on their week of freedom.

There's a nice vibe about the relationship between Maggie and Fred's wife Grace (Applegate) and both women are terrific. Australian Nicky Whelan does a good job in a typecast bimbo role and watch out for Richard Jenkins as the scene-stealing Lothario who knows all the moves. While Maggie and Grace head to Cape Cod and the boys are left to sow their pretentious oats, we can see that their pathetic attempts are going to end badly. In the bar, on the golf course, at the disco, in the massage parlour and the Jacuzzi, every new day brings new embarrassments - mostly in bad taste. Close ups of that extra long black penis will certainly prompt comment.

Reality and fantasy are never on the same page, and irony plays a deft hand when everyone gets more than they expect. It's not a fizzer but I had hoped for more. Heart and cutting edge are what's missing.
Published first in the Sun-Herald

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

HALL PASS (MA15+)
(US, 2011)

CAST: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Merchant

PRODUCER: Mark Charpentier, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, J.B. Rogers,[BREAK]Bradley Thomas, Charles B. Wessler

DIRECTOR: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

SCRIPT: Pete Jones, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett, Bobby Farrelly (story by Pete Jones)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew F. Leonetti

EDITOR: Sam Seig

MUSIC: Not credited

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Arlan Jay Vetter

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 3, 2011







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