2.25.2011

REVIEW: Hall Pass (Bobby & Peter Farrelly, 2011)

The way "Shutter Island" feels like it could have been made by a modern Alfred Hitchcock, the first thing I note of this picture's composition is an unexpected Billy Wilder tone. I'm making lofty comparisons, I know, but it's no mere coincidence. "Hall Pass" is essentially "The Seven Year Itch" for February, 2011. Our leads (well-timed team Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) are granted seven days free from surveilled marital obligation by their wives (naturally gorgeous pair Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) in hopes they'll learn the hard way a lesson in love. Over the course of this week, the men - less heroes in misogyny than puppylike victims of their own misgivings - fumble through preparation for would-be hook-ups either too tired, too wasted or just too uncertain to make any real moves.

The Farrellys have attempted morality before. Just look at "Shallow Hal" (on second thought, don't). With "Hall Pass", they're touching on a very real, lingering issue within romantically committed life. Complacency battles ambition, but is our ambition really quelled by what we label "the ol' ball and chain" or are we as individuals to blame? Perhaps in this age of wilting monogamy all we need is to be reminded why we took the plunge in the first place. A moral journey in crude comedy's clothing, "Hall Pass" allows its audience - just as "The Seven Year Itch" did - to be unsure. At times the "right" and "wrong" choices aren't so clear cut from what is typically our omniscient vantage. By engaging us superficially, the Farrellys have actually created an empathetic avenue over which we stand to be reassured in our love lives.

2 comments:

  1. From what I and most others can tell, the Farrellys squandered a potentially meaningful look at the one serious issue taking an increasingly detrimental toll on relationships today. This, needless to say, is a direct result of their overbearing penchant for gross-out gags and unrefined sense of humor, yet your ability to overlook these things and grasp their intentions with the material gives me hope. I'll most likely be checking this one out before the week's over.

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  2. Very cool! I indeed read as much in the critic blurbs on Hall Pass' Rotten Tomatoes page... and like I say, yeah, there are some major moments involving graphically crude humor but I hesitate to call it gross-out due to the Farrellys' capable execution of comic timing and comic space. I felt the meaningfulness was not lost, simply brought forth in different packaging. I'll be seeing this one again on Wednesday to share it with my lady and put its promising rewatch value to the test (granted, I wouldn't be doing this were I not receiving free tickets through part-time work at the movie theater).

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