Hall Pass Movie Review
Rick and Fred (Wilson and Sudeikis) are best pals who have never quite given up their frat-boy ways, even though both are settled down with their wives Maggie and Grace (Fischer and Applegate), respectively. Fed up with their obsessions with sex, the women give their husbands hall passes: a week off from marriage, no questions asked. But things have changed since they were 20-year-old bucks, both in the world and in their priorities. Is it as much fun to actually go girl-crazy as it is to pretend to do it?
In other hands (think Judd Apatow or Todd Phillips), this premise would lead to a series of embarrassing man-child antics. But the Farrellys steer a more realistic route through the material. Sure, there are plenty of hijinks, but the dialog sounds more honest than goofy, and performances are grounded in characters rather than the nutty situations. What emerges might be duller, but it's also a witty, astute exploration of both male friendship and the way relationships change with time.
Watching these men confront their fantasies is often quite funny (when the filmmakers can avoid throwing in a cheap gross-out joke). Wilson and Sudeikis are believable as two guys who imagine they're still just as desirable to young women as they were when they were younger. In fact they probably are, but when they have the chance to get cheating out of their system, the reality surprises them.
Even more interesting is the journey Maggie and Grace take, which is sharply played by both Fischer and Applegate. The truth the movie acknowledges is that women are the ones who get their dreams (men have to adapt theirs), and this might be because women are the ones who actually grow up. This is a pretty big topic for what's essentially a silly comedy, but with their unfussy filmmaking and clear eye for the ironies of everyday life, the Farrellys are the right filmmakers to make it work.