Monday, 14 March 2011

108: Review - Hall Pass

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Hall Pass
14 March 2011. Location: Cinema

Plot: In a bid to re-ignite their marriage, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) gives Rick (Owen Wilson) a 'hall pass' for a week. That's right, seven whole days of booze, women and tedious predicability!

Do you remember what comedies were like ten years ago? The Farrelly Brothers do. In fact, they're still writing and directing them like that; oblivious to the fact that gross-out comedies have, at least a little bit, moved on in a decade. It's kind of like they've taken Old School, smashed it into The Hangover, and sprinkled it with Date Night, somehow expecting it to be at least equal to either. It ain't.

Don't get me wrong, I did laugh. Approximately once every ten minutes. You can almost see the people with the clipboards at the back of the shot, watching the test-audience's reaction and scribbling 'insert joke and/or boobs here'. When it's funny, it's laugh-out-loud funny, but these moments are too measured and few-and-far-between to be convincing. There are also a few obvious moments where they've ramped up the language/nudity to get an R (US) / 15 (UK) rating. They just feel out of place with the rest of the movie.

I should also take a moment to thank Owen Wilson for playing Owen Wilson again. I'd almost forgotten what the puppy-eyed, floppy-haired, hapless, loveable sap was like since How Do You Know (last year), Little Fockers (last year), Night At The Museum 2 (the year before), Marley and Me (and the year before that), and for almost his entire career. *sigh*

Incidentally, Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate are both very good, as is Derek Waters as the psychotic Brent. But that's because they're all a-c-t-i-n-g. Rather than just coasting from gag to gag, reading the cue cards and being themselves.

I probably shouldn't be so hard on this, but everyone involved should know better. Especially Stephen Merchant, who's a fucking writer himself! Although he's doing those godawful adverts for Barclays at the moment, too, so what does that tell you?

All in all: This will probably be quite watchable if there's a bunch of you and you're drunk and chatting during the bits where there are no jokes. when it works, it's great, but that accounts for about 15% of the film. It's not even 'comfortably familiar', it's just 'worn out'.

And a three's being generous, frankly.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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