Grae Drake
Hall Pass Review

Who's In It: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Richard Jenkins, Nicky Whelan

The Basics: Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are just run-of-the-mill suburban guys, taking their wives to neighborhood housewarming parties, playing poker games with the boys on their allotted nights, and checking out foxy ladies on the sly . What they don't know is that their wives are so fed up with their behavior that they earn "hall passes," which gives them a week off of marriage. They can do whatever they want. And of course, at the end of the week, they see what their marriage is really made of. And they see some boobs too.

What's the Deal: This movie is exactly in line with the stuff the Farrelly Brothers normally make. Time and time again, they create a portrayal of everyday people that is reasonably relatable, but with acutely zany edges. If you are the world's biggest fan of movies that bake adultery, family, self-esteem, and your true life's purpose into a cake frosted with dick jokes, this is your film. I laughed a lot in this movie when it was letting the characters do relatively relatable, zany things. The chemistry between Sudeikis and Wilson is as plain as the shlong on the naked Irish guy, and although the script doesn't get past stereotypes, that's okay with me. The only thing that dulls this film's omnipresent fake tan is the fact that I have seen and liked this film regularly for 17 years, starting when these guys directed Dumb and Dumber.

Shall-om Hal: Joy Behar, self-proclaimed shiksa non-grata, plays the same role as Anthony Robbins from the 2001 film. Older, wiser, and with fluffier hair, she coaches her two workout partners (Fischer and Applegate) about hall passes and how they've made her marriage "better than ever." This acts as the major catalyst in the film, just like Jack Black getting trapped in the elevator with the self-help guru--only this time with more yoga pants.

Me, Myself, and Stephen: Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee, and Jerod Mixon totally stole the show in Me, Myself, and Irene, and this time, that honor goes to Stephen Merchant. He wanders around scenes like a big lumbering child, carrying a red umbrella, scooping pot brownies out of a sandwich baggie, and burying stool pigeons in the backyard. His delightfully thick glasses magnify every wide-eyed moment of wonder that his character has, transporting me to my future where I get to marry him and have weird goggly-eyed babies.

There's Something about Sharting: Ever since 1998, we have been chasing that ejaculation-as-hair-gel dragon. That moment was shocking and hilarious, and carved a deep notch in pop culture. But now, any of that gross humor just comes across as desperate, like a 55-year-old dude in jean shorts and Tevas drunkenly screaming about how great "Appetite for Destruction" was. These were definitely my least favorite moments in the film. They got one quick "ha" that was quickly followed with a moment of silence for the death of originality. I shudder to think what they will awkwardly shove into their upcoming Three Stooges remake because they feel like they have to.


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