Pass on “Hall Pass”

Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis take on debauchery, with poor results.

Sudeikis and Wilson wondering why they're in this lousy movie

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Sudeikis and Wilson wondering why they’re in this lousy movie

Tony Libera

âÄúHall PassâÄù

Directed by: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate

Rated: R

Showing at: Area theaters

The Farrelly brothers have made a fine living out of male infantilism and bawdy humor, but itâÄôs a trade thatâÄôs notoriously hit-or-miss. Their latest feature, âÄúHall Pass,âÄù sports the same amount of ribaldry and raunchiness as typical Farrelly products, yet its navigation of well-tread sentimentality and uninspired plot progression offer little in the way of either novelty or comedy.

âÄúHall PassâÄù tells the highly unlikely story of Rick and Fred (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis), two longtime buddies whose wives, fed up with their husbandsâÄô wandering eyes, offer the men âÄúhall passesâÄù âÄî a week off from marriage with absolutely no restrictions and no repercussions.

Rick and Fred think theyâÄôve hit the proverbial jackpot, but as the second-rate sitcom premise unfolds, the two men find themselves at odds with their own abilities, emotions and chance misfortunes.

At root, the movieâÄôs failure stems not from its campy underpinnings but from the total underutilization of an overtly absurd idea. Instead of going for broke with the concept, âÄúHall PassâÄù plays it relatively safe, supplying the occasional dick joke while a series of fairly mundane events unfolds.

Rick and Fred go to an ApplebeeâÄôs thinking theyâÄôll meet loose women; they spout off corny pickup lines (a filmic practice as clichéd as the lines themselves); and at their absolute wildest, they eat some pot brownies and run amok of a golf course âÄî a scene so darn immoral that itâÄôs sure to outrage depression-era housewives everywhere.

âÄúHall PassâÄù gets so tedious that even the actors seem uninterested. Sudeikis sporadically hits with some form of lewdness, but Wilson plods through the production, trading in the swagger of a seasoned cocksman for the tucked-in T-shirt and awkward charm of a neutered 40-something. The wives, played by Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer, donâÄôt fare much better in their parallel thread, nor does the deus ex machina character, who serves only to clumsily further the plot, not to strengthen it in any conceivable way.

âÄúHall PassâÄù manages the occasional laugh, but itâÄôs at the expense of substance and only through an inundation of crudity. And while the middle-aged viewer might get a kick out of the married man commonality on display, the larger moviegoing public will be as bored as the characters.

 

1/4 Stars