Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hall Pass - Unexpected Comedic Delight

The running gag in Farrelly Brothers' latest film, "Hall Pass" is based on a psychology theory called "Reactants' Theory" (is there such a thing?) - If you keep telling someone they can't do something, they just wanna do it more than ever!

Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are a couple of forty-something married men, eternally faithful, but severely preoccupied with sex, to the consternation of their wives Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate). After several embarrassing situations where these men displayed boorish behavior (Fred gets caught and booked for masturbating inside his car while some policemen were doing their rounds), they were given a "Hall Pass".

The Hall Pass is one week where the guys are permitted do anything they want - pick up girls, have anonymous sex, gamble, booze and drugs, anything - without marital repercussions! Once Rick and Fred get their pass, they gather their male troop to serve as witnesses for their planned indiscretions. As days go by, it's becoming clear that hooking up with women isn't a walk in the park. Day 1 has the gang pigging out ("we're gathering energy"). Day 2 has them getting high. Day 3 gets them drunk while Fred gets punched in the face. Day 4 has them nursing a hangover. The week is ending, but there's no prospect in sight? Their friends are starting to doubt if they are as capable as they say they are.

In one of the scenes, Rick joins the gym to follow a bar girl he's been lusting after. There should be plenty of skin - young, tight, even nubile, all in several state of undress at the gym, right? But he ends up getting cramps in a jacuzzi, he almost drowned. He gets help from a couple of burly naked guys; each one a representative of the extremes of endowments. It was a bit of a shock, but nevertheless hilarious. This was one of those in-your-face genital showcase (remember Jason Segel in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall") that will be predictably cut ("censored") once shown in Philippine Cinemas, especially SM cinemas - so we've taken the initiative to get a capture, just so you know what you'll be missing out on.

I am not too fond of films about men-behaving-badly, but "Hall Pass" was such an unexpected delight! I found myself laughing at the unforced, slap-happy chemistry of Wilson and Sudeikis. There were several plot devices used (another hilarious side story involves nanny Paige's family in the concluding shenanigans), but they all fell into place. The affable cast transforms these devices into pleasant laugh-out-loud situations! It's been years since "There's Something About Mary" and "Dumb and Dumber" but in "Hall Pass", the Farrelly Brothers show they're back in fighting form.

A hilarious trip into entertainment haven!

At the end of the story is a cathartic comeuppance that may seem like fast resolutions, but I just didn't care. I enjoyed it!

Owen Wilson is Rick.

Jason Sudeikis is Fred who eventually snags a willing victim. Problem is, he complains, "I cannot talk to her." There was nothing they could talk about.

Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate get a hall pass for themselves.

Owen Wilson as Rick finds out that in checking out babes at gyms, you don't exclusively encounter tits-and-ass. In this hilarious scene, he meets two helpful samaritans - naked male samaritans! Actors Thaddeus Rahming (above) and Rich Brown display the long and short hands of camaraderie!

Gorgeous Tyler Hoechlin plays the sports jock Gerry who's attracted to Grace (Applegate).

How time flies. He was a child in Tom Hanks' "The Road to Perdition". Now he is a 6 foot hunk appearing next in the comedy "Melvin Smarty" and as lead in the saga on bull fighters and drug smugglers in "Open Gate".

Alexandra Daddario is Paige, the pretty nanny.

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