Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
Larry Joe Campbell—Hog-Head
|Director:||The Farrlley Brothers (Bobby and Peter Farrelly)|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema|
“One week. No rules.”
You never know what you’re going to get with the Farrelly Brothers. I know some readers are thinking, “What? The guys responsible for ‘There’s Something About Mary’”? Yes, the same brothers, but what some viewers do not know is that for every “…Mary” or “Heartbreak Kid,” the Farrelly brothers have released a sweeter, milder film like “Fever Pitch” or “Stuck on You”. While those films weren’t perfect, they were examples of the Farrelly brothers using their talents in a much more manageable sense. The latest from the brothers is somewhat of a hybrid of their earlier work. In “Hall Pass”, we get a humorous film with an awesome message. Unfortunately, the viewer has to sit through hard R rated content that undermines this message.
Rick and Fred are best friends who seem to be happily married to their wives, Maggie and Grace. Unfortunately, as human beings tend to do, Rick and Fred refuse to see what they have (loving wives, wonderful children, and good friends), and instead they see what they think they don’t have (freedom). All Rick and Fred talk about are the days back in college when they were single, picking up girls, and having the time of their lives. They think that their wives are slowing them down. Maggie and Grace feel as though they aren’t appreciated by their husbands, and decide to give them a “hall pass.” For one week, the wives and kids leave town, and Rick and Fred are no longer married. The rules no longer apply, and they are free to be the men they think they could be if still single.
As the week unfolds, all four main characters learn something about themselves and about their spouse. Rick and Fred hit the town accompanied by their friends, but find things are different than what they had imagined. Maggie and Grace, while out of town, also are faced with challenges and temptations of their own. Each character is left with questions, temptations, and uncertainty.
While decidedly adult, “Hall Pass” is a funny movie, and it’s funny because of the cast. Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis play Rick and Fred, and are hysterical. Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate play Maggie and Grace, respectively, and also have their moments. Several members of the supporting cast steal the show, specifically British comedian Stephen Merchant as well as Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins.
While the film is funny, it’s also very vulgar. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the Farrelly brothers decided to give “Hall Pass” the content equivalent to their hit “There’s Something About Mary”. Foul language is present throughout and so is the sexual content. Sexual scenes, dialogue, and perversion are all a big part of the film, including male and female nudity. While some of the dialogue and content take place between married individuals, other parts do not. The content can be classified as graphic, gratuitous, and inappropriate.
It’s a shame the content of “Hall Pass” is what it is, because the message of the film is top notch. ***Spoiler Alert*** At the end of the film, one character reveals to his wife, after going the entire week without cheating on her, that he had lied about his past and that she has been his “first, last, and only”. The two realize how much they love each other and the husband states that he will, “put his wife on a pedestal, and treat her the way he should”. Both members of the other couple are unfaithful, and have tremendous regrets about it. They share with each other, and commit to building a stronger union. ***End Spoiler*** At the end of the film, the values of monogamy, traditional marriage, and faithfulness are lauded.
I want to be clear that this film is not garnering my recommendation. It is grossly inappropriate, not suitable for any kids, and contains an excessive amount of objectionable material. It is my job to be honest about the film’s qualities as well as its shortcomings. If I stand and complain about the immorality of this Hollywood production, it would be hypocritical of me not to tell you about what it got right. Because it got some things right, does that mean Christian viewers should see it? Probably not, but it is my hope that maybe, just maybe, in spite of vulgar content and the best efforts of the Farrelly brothers, the biblical foundation of marriage will be glorified, just as God intends.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
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