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Gavin Grades The Movies

Hall Pass

Way before The Hangover, the desire to make movies about grown men who desperately cling to their youth in midlife crisis movies has been around.  It's a genre of comedy that never seems to get boring, but it's also very easy to screw up and end up as a roulette wheel of d*ck and poop jokes.  Is it possible to be the latter but still manage to be very funny and almost smart?  Sure is, and it's called Hall Pass.  The Farrelly Brothers had a huge hit with There's Something About Mary that revitalized Hollywood comedies in proving that R-rated comedies can be great and lucrative.  But that was in 1998 and ever since then they've had failure after failure after failure.  Hall Pass might be their first success since.  It lacks the quirkiness that There's Something About Mary created and it's not as funny as Kingpin or Dumb and Dumber.  But it's worthy of standing on its own as a great adult comedy of theirs.  Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis (SNL, Going the Distance) are married buddies who's wives, played by Christina Applegate (Anchorman, Going the Distance) and Jenna Fisher (The Office, Walk Hard), give them a hall pass which is a week off of marriage.  Sounds like every man's dream but it turns out to be harder than they think.  The film gets off to a soggy start but quickly picks up the pace.  What is shocking is the level of edginess it goes too.  Much like There's Something About Mary or Me, Myself & Irene, the humor gets very adult and graphic but at a surprise.  The initial shock of seeing Ben Stiller get his "frank and beans" stuck in his zipper was awesomely hilarious and certain scenes of Hall Pass carry the same shocking gross-out humor.  Another victory is that it remains moderately funny throughout and doesn't fall victim to the awful final act that most of these comedies suffer, such as The Hangover.  The biggest disappointment of the movie comes from a vastly underutilized supporting cast.  The Farralleys have JB Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Stephen Merchant (The Office), and Oscar-nominated Richard Jenkins (Let Me In, Eat Pray Love) and they give them nothing funny to do.  The three of them are capable of carrying the movie themselves, as far as I'm concerned, but have nothing to work with in this.  The only supporting character that rises to the level of Scene Stealer is comedian Derek Waters (Funnyordie.com's Drunk History, The Sarah Silverman Program).  Although his character is the one that takes the movie into nonsense, it's still damn funny to watch.  Be warned that Hall Pass is very adult and still not for everyone.  If you like your humor to not involve senseless nudity, spraying feces or graphic profanity, then you might want to pass on Hall Pass.  But if There's Something About Mary made  you laugh as the limits of good taste were pushed, this will almost satisfy. Hall Pass (Rated R) Gavin Grade: B

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02/23/2011 6:08PM
Hall Pass
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