February 25, 2011


Caught the Farrelly Brothers' "Hall Pass" this week, here's a brief mini-review:

There's kind of a creepy vibe to the whole enterprise, the Farrellys aren't nearly as good at executing their formula as the Apatow gang, a lot of the gross-out gags are more disgusting than funny and have no point and Owen Wilson, in the lead role, is a bland non-entity who appears to have aged a decade since the last time he was in a movie.

But despite that, the movie's got three or four setpieces that are up there with the best parts of "There's Something About Mary." So I ended up laughing quite a bit.

Think of Farrelly formula as a three-legged stool of laughs, heart and gross-out gags. "There's Something About Mary" had all three, stuff like "Stuck on You" and "Fever Pitch" had heart but no laughs, while their awful "Heartbreak Kid" remake had none of the above. "Hall Pass" has laughs and heart, but the gross-out stuff just isn't funny. A few other notes:

- It may be a juvenile comedy about marital infidelity with dick and poo jokes, but "Hall Pass" is ultimately a sneakily conservative, pro-family comedy and not only that, but there's never any doubt that it'll end up that way.

- An indie movie last year, "The Freebie," had the exact same plot, and it starred Katie Aselton, who plays the awesome wife character on "The League."

- The movie's got a good bench of supporting comic actors, including J.B. Smoove (Leon Black from 'Curb'), Ricky Gervais' sidekick Stephen Merchant and in a dynamite, against-type cameo as a womanizer, Richard Jenkins. However, one guy's lone character trait seems to be that he poops a lot.

- Jenna Fischer plays Wilson's wife, and the filmmakers do all they can to make her look dowdy at the beginning and progressively more attractive as the film goes on.

- There's an actress in the movie, Alexandra Daddario, who's now a third member of the Amanda Peet/Lake Bell lookalike club.

- The film was written by Pete Jones, who you may remember as the director in the first season of "Project Greenlight."

Anyway, it's full of flaws and far from a comedy classic, but like I said I laughed a lot.

Posted by Stephen Silver at February 25, 2011 02:28 PM
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