Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hall Pass (The Farrelly Brothers, 2011) -- C-

It pains me to see the Farrelly Brothers, whose films have consistently balanced the goofy, human, and absurd over the years, sink to perhaps their lowest point with Hall Pass, a thoroughly desperate and unfunny vehicle that couldn't play more like a tonally uncertain amalgamation of sweetness and gross-out. Even their unsatisfactory remake of The Heartbreak Kid had at least a degree of charm, managing moments (what the brothers specialize in) of cleverness. Now, their latest premise, which could have theoretically yielded a Dumb and Dumber level romp (the underlying idea isn't flawed), sinks fast amidst their confusion. Buddy married bros (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis) get a week off from their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate), each compelled to make the offer after sensing marital dissatisfaction. Nothing coheres comedically, however, from the stupid-serious turns by the male leads (each is fairly awful here) and gags ranging from eating too many pot brownies, Applebees' unsatisfactory chick factor, shitting in a sand trap, and faking cunnilingus. If those don't sound lame or tired enough - well, then we're on different wavelengths. The Farrellys have always been best at utilizing their leads' comedic potential - their material has never really been that funny. That their one strength falls woefully short here should be sufficient indication as to the film's comprehensive inadequacies.

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