Hall Pass

Hall Pass

The last few years have seen an array of male dominated movies hit our screens. Dubbed bro-flicks, most are epic tales of booze, boobs and various attempts at getting laid. The genre burst onto our screens with American Pie (1999), which followed five teens quest to lose their virginity before leaving high school. The genre continues to grow, making men and women alike giggle themselves silly in cinemas around the globe. Other, more recent bro-flicks include comedies such as Sex Drive (2008) and She’s Out of My League (2010); hilarious comedies about one man’s perusal of the opposite sex. Namely, they include a group of male friends, a loser-ish character who, for one reason or another, desperately needs to get laid, and a stack of hilariously embarrassing ventures which see him strike out again and again before finally landing the girl; or, at least, a girl.

More recently, we have seen the emergence of the bro-mance; guy-centric films which may or may not be about the perusal of the opposite sex. Namely, this genre includes films such as The Hangover (2009), I Love You, Man (2009) and the newly released Hall Pass (2011). The films generally involve a group of guys out to have a good time, away from the women (wives, girlfriends, etc) who continue to bring them down. Hall Pass follows this line of thought, when two men are given the week off marriage, a test which their wives hope will get everything out of their system.

The women of Hall Pass, Maggie (Jenna Fisher) and Grace (Christina Applegate) allow their husbands Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) a week away from their wives and family in order to make them realise that, as much as they currently obsess over sex and other women, they would be hard pressed to find anyone that could replace their wives. The result is a variety of escapades involving drugs, booze, awkward gym visits, and many strike-outs by the hilariously overconfident Fred.

The movie begins with an act of rudeness towards another family, which sees Rick and Fred receive Hall Passes as punishment for their actions. Granted out of female frustration rather than real anger, Maggie and Grace give their husbands seven days off, themselves escaping to Maggie’s parents’ beach house for a week holiday. Day One sees Rick and Fred out on the town for a night with the boys. Looking for action, they head to a local Applebee’s Restaurant, a place that “apparently” makes the women go wild. After a huge dinner the men, full to the brim with ribs and nachos, call it a night without talking to a single woman. Days Two to Five follow a similar line, with several hilarious ventures into drugs, alcohol and terrible pick up lines thrown into the mix. Not for lack of trying, at no point in these five days is either man close to finding a woman to take home for the night.

Day Six sees the arrival of an old friend into town. Coakley (Richard Jenkins) is an old friend of Rick and Fred. Seen to live the high life, Coakley never tied himself down with marriage or children, choosing instead to travel the world and pursue women across the globe. Coakley takes Rick and Fred to a club and immediately begins the challenge of finding them a new girl. The night involves nudity, toilet humour, police chases and crazy ex-boyfriends, which combine hilariously to create moments of comedy gold.

Hall Pass contains many aspects of bro-mance comedy; surprise nudity, toilet humour, runs from the law and a variety of awkward sexual encounters leave the audience laughing, crying and, at times, hiding behind their hands. In the case of Hall Pass, writers Pete Jones, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett and Bob Farrelly manage to take this over done formula and produce something fresh and different that will leave viewers wanting more. Possible sequels have not yet been mentioned, but, if the laughs match box office takings, it is easy to see a franchise of Hall Passes in the not too distant future.

A hilarious movie supported by a well planned line up of actors, Hall Pass results in fresh comedic content, where, unlike other recent ventures in the bro-mance genre, audiences are hard pressed to guess the ending. Faulted only by one over the top and outrageous car chase scene, viewers will not be disappointed. Three and a half stars.

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