“Hall Pass” can’t rightly be called a romantic comedy because there is very little actual romance contained in its story of two couples who are experiencing the martial blahs. Instead let’s call it a mid life comedy.
In this Farrelly Brothers film Owen Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Jason Sudeikis and Christina Applegate are Rick, Maggie, Fred and Grace, two long time couples in stale, sexless marriages. After an embarrassing incident at a friend’s home the fed up wives decide to give their husbands a “hall pass”—a week long holiday from marriage in an effort to prove to them that the grass is not greener on the other side of the nuptial fence.
The kind of gross out humor you would expect from the purveyors of films like “There’s Something about Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber” is firmly in place here. Unfortunately “Hall Pass” isn’t anywhere near as funny as either “Mary” or “Dumber”—even though the Farrely’s obsession with overly tanned people is firmly in place—but as puerile as it may be the charming cast wrings whatever humor there is to be found out of the script. Because of them the movie has a fairly constant ripple of giggles punctuated occasionally by big laughs.
It’s a thin premise, stretched almost to breaking, with a moral—surprise, surprise, single life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—that seems very predictable, especially coming from the Farrelys. Luckily good casting and the odd well timed joke elevates “Hall Pass” from the level of a Katherine Heigl couples comedy, but just barely.