daniel cohen reviews the latest comedy from the Farrelly Brothers …
Plot: When Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) can’t stop staring and thinking about other women, their wives give them a “hall pass,” meaning a week off from marriage to get it out of their system. The guys get more than they bargained for though on their week of freedom.
What happened to the Farrelly Brothers? Dumb And Dumber. Kingpin. There’s Something About Mary. These were some of the best comedies of the ’90s — arguably some of the best comedies of all time. Now we have Hall Pass. This is terrible. The characters are detestable and act like they’re 12. But it commits the worst crime a comedy can commit: It’s not funny. I chuckled at maybe three lines, and the rest was dead silence.
This movie is trying to shove Jason Sudeikis down my throat, and after this performance, I want to run as far away as possible. He’s not funny, and his character is just an unlikable pathetic person. There’s a bar scene where he gets drunk and just makes a total ass of himself in front of these women. It would be one thing if he was funny, but he just comes off as a total dick. Now, certainly with any movie, characters have their flaws that they try and work through. But we are supposed to like this character, and there is nothing about him I find appealing, so I don’t care about his little journey at redemption. I just hate him. It made me think of how much better a movie like Hot Tub Time Machine was. Those characters are all dicks, but they are funny, and there is something endearing about them, which is why I accepted their douchebag qualities and rooted for them.
I will say the Owen Wilson character (Rick) wasn’t bad. He’s got a couple funny lines, and the one great scene in this movie is where he tells off a smart-ass barista (Tyler Hoechlin). So I did care for him, but that’s the only character I rooted for.
One of the scenes in the middle that went to the “point of no return” on how I was going to feel about this movie was at a golf course. This was pathetic. Rick and Fred go play a round of golf, but their craaaaaaaaazy British friend (Stephen Merchant) gives them special brownies. Uh-Oh. What hilarity will ensue? What ensues is the British guy Gary jumping in the pond and having a loud cell phone conversation, and the mandatory fat friend named “Hog-Head” (Larry Joe Campbell) pulls down his pants and takes a dump in the sand trap. And the worst part is you could see this joke forming as he eats the brownie. It’s not funny. It’s cringe-worthy. And these filmmakers are better than that.
And that’s pretty much all the big jokes in the movie — shock value. They try and hit you with sight gags. Now, the Farrelly Brothers did this in their earlier work as well, but there’s a big difference. Those movies were consistently funny aside from the shock jokes, with clever and funny dialogue. This is just periods of boredom and dead air that suddenly hits you with a crass gag that is not funny and just … gross.
The first two thirds of this movie is just a bad comedy. But when we get into the third act, it degenerates into atrocious territory. We get gun shots and a police chase that doesn’t match up with the tone of the rest of the movie. And there are four main character stories going on that just take forever to wrap up. They aren’t interesting. They aren’t funny. I don’t like these people. And I just wanted this movie to end.
Look, I’m not a stuffy person that will always look my nose down at potty and sex humor and stupid movies. Billy Madison, for crying out loud, is one of my favorite comedies. But this is disgusting for the sake of being disgusting with no clever set-ups and bad characters. I hate this movie. Please stay away.
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Really Atrocious)