‘Hall Pass’ is candidate for next big quotable comedy

Hall Pass

4/5 Pitchforks

Starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis

Rated R

Release: Feb. 25, 2011

In the vein of yet another film where middle-aged men relive their teenage fantasies, “Hall Pass” is the next big quotable comedy. The Farrelly Brothers, famous for such classics as “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary,” have had a dry spell in recent years with less-than-stellar comedies. “Hall Pass,” however, shows that The Farrelly’s can contend with today’s comedy juggernauts like Judd Apatow.

Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are going through a bit of a mid-life crisis; they may be getting older yet they still have the minds of sex-crazed teenagers. After their wives (played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) publicly witness a cringe-worthy hidden camera conversation between Rick and Fred, they give their men a Hall Pass; one week free from their marital duties.

Now, if you’re thinking this second chance to relieve their old glory days seems far-fetched, it is. Yet it provides the perfect platform to show how outrageous and awkward it would be for any of us to actually go through with our nostalgic daydreams.

This “Spring Break” situation shows the men trying to pick-up women at family restaurants, dishing out horrible pick-up lines at Providence, Rhode Island’s hottest bars (“Hey does this bar napkin smell like chloroform?”), and a plethora of other botched attempts at living a man’s dream.

Owens and Sudeikis make a better duo than you may think. Owens, who has played the hip character in almost every film he makes, is now the goofy dad. It’s a nice change of pace that Owens takes in stride. Sudeikis, of “Saturday Night Live” fame, solidifies himself as the next big post-“SNL” movie star. His timing and delivery really give a human quality to the wannabe macho Fred.

If this is a man’s dream, though, the women seem to be getting the best of the deal. A week away from the husbands shows the women to be savvier than the men. Women are crafty, guys, and they’ll outsmart us even in our own dream situation.

With any Farrelly movie, amidst all the sex jokes, eye-covering awkwardness and hot new urban-dictionary terms, there is a heart to film. The moral: The grass may seem greener on the other side and in our memories, but you’re probably better enjoying everything you have now.

Like most good comedies, “Hall Pass” has a sleeper quality, the dark horse of movies coming out. The same way “Old School” and “Stepbrothers” made out to be surprising hits, “Hall Pass” will shock and awe you  — and that’s a good thing. It’s a solid comedy film that is worth the ticket price. How many times can you say that these days?

Reach the reporter at jgwynn@asu.edu


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