Search This Blog

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hall Pass

The first of two reviews that I did for Channel24 this week.  It's pretty bad as far as stupid comedies go but I don't think it's quite as atrocious as some seem to think.

From (Originally posted 25 March 2011)

What it's about:

Two relatively happily men are given a "hall pass" - a week off from their marriage - by their wives, as a "cure", of sorts, for their wandering eyes.

What we thought:

That Hall Pass is crass, stupid, lowest-common-denominator trash isn't exactly surprising when you take into consideration the Farrelly Brothers' past work (There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Me Myself and Irene) but what is surprising is just how low on solid laughs it is. Just because the Farrellys revel in the dregs of the comedy barrel doesn't mean that they haven't gotten some genuine comic gold out of it. There's Something About Mary, in particular, was a huge and deserved comedy hit that has actually aged well. Sadly, Hall Pass is no There's Something About Mary. 

I say "sadly" because I was very much hoping that it would be, if not good, then at least funny in a moronic, gross-out kind of way. The Farrellys have gotten quite a few laughs out of me over the years – some that I'm not particularly proud of – and the cast has no less than four actors whose work I'm really rather fond of.

Owen Wilson can't help but be incredibly likeable in even his dopiest roles and - in direct contrast to someone like Vince Vaughn – he has only become more endearing a screen presence as time has marched on. Richard Jenkins, on the other hand, is simply an incredible actor and it's fun to see him play a character that is as far out-there as the uber-slimy "ladies man" he portrays in the film.

Jenna Fischer, despite the incredibly strange fake tan she sports in the second half of the film, is as wonderful as ever and she and Owen Wilson actually make for a great, unassuming screen couple. Finally, there's Stephen Merchant who is responsible for the film's only belly laugh – a one-minute coda that appears a couple of minutes into the credits and does more with the central premise than the rest of the film put together.

That final joke is so good in fact that it might even confuse you into thinking the entirety of Hall Pass is a passable comedy. It's a cute trick but I'm not falling for it. What's strange though, is that however much I feel the film simply doesn't work and fails miserably at making use of its daft but potentially funny premise, I really don't hate Hall Pass. I've seen a bunch of worse movies already this year and it would be delusional of me to believe that there isn't worse still coming.          

It clearly helps that the above four actors are as likeable as they are and that the rest of the cast come out of the film looking OK, but credit has to go to the Farrellys for making the film as amiable as it is. However unfunny, juvenile and idiotic Hall Pass may be, it never crosses the line into odiousness. It's crap but likably so.

I know this seems like an unlikely defence but when you consider just how bad films can get – and have already gotten this year - "just kind of crappy" suddenly doesn't seem so bad now, does it? 

No comments:

Post a Comment