hallpass

By Mike Smith

My full time job with the local utility company requires me to visit our customers in person. The guy who trained me would accompany me to the door and, if the person who answered happened to be a beautiful young girl he would always say the same thing to me as we left: “Boy, if I wasn’t married…” Of course I wanted to say “if you weren’t married, what? You’re 57 and she’s 19!” But I think you get the point. What if your significant other decided to give you a break from your marriage…a hall pass as it were? What would you do?

Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) are best friends. Like most friends they talk about everything. Usually the conversation is about other women they see walking by or run into at social functions. Rick is married to Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and they have three kids. Fred is married to Grace (Applegate) with no children. But both men learn they share a common problem…lack of “alone time” with their significant other. They dare not complain because, in their minds, that could offset the “balance of power” they claim to hold. But when their wandering eyes and upsetting comments continue Rick and Fred are offered a “hall pass” – one week off from their marriages to do whatever their hearts desire. Sounds easy, right?

I have always been a fan of the Farrelly brothers. They ushered in a new era of the adult comedy with such films as “Dumb and Dumber” and “Something About Mary,” an era that harkened back to the days of “Animal House,” “Caddyshack” and the first “Porkys” film – raunchy comedies that made you laugh so hard you had to see the movie again because you missed half of the lines. What is so special about the Farrelly brothers is that their films, in spite of all of the foul mouthed humor, also have a heart. And that trait continues in “Hall Pass.”

Wilson and Sudeikis are a perfect on-screen combination. Both actors work well off each other and give the film the heart mentioned above. In my opinion, this is the best and fullest performance Wilson has delivered on screen. Here he doesn’t have to depend on the “surfer guy” persona he perfected in the past and hopefully he’s confident in his abilities to leave “surfer guy” behind him in the future. Sudeikis is a fine comedian but also handles a few dramatic moments well. Fischer and Applegate are also well cast, with both bringing life to what could have easily been one dimensional caricatures. The supporting cast is made up of Farrelly brother regulars, including the immeasurable Richard Jenkins. And the brothers continue their streak of inserting their favorite sports heroes into their films with a cameo by the great Dwight Evans. My fingers are crossed that they’ll find a role for Fred Lynn when they start filming “The Three Stooges.” He’d make a great Shemp!

As with all Farrelly brother films, the humor is decidedly adult, both in the dialogue and sight gags. But what else would you expect from the people who put “hair gel” in Cameron Diaz’ hair? I laughed from beginning to end and to me that’s the sign of a comedy classic.

Blu-Ray Details and Extras

Seven minutes or so have been woven back into the film (Yeah, I know, big deal!?) but there’s a funny gag reel and deleted scene that are worthwhile. There’s also some BD-Live fun for those who’ve got a modem handy.