To think, not that long ago, we world never had the genre of "gross-out comedy..." Then along came The Farrelly Brothers and decency went the way of the dodo!
The first warning should have been that the posters only show two of the writing/directing brothers work, and those were amongst their first foray into the world of "spit your Coke outta your mouth" funny. It's been 13 years and several films since they told us that "There's Something About Mary" and their latest venture has a premise so high that only a savvy traveller in Amsterdam could begin to accept it, let alone make them laugh.
The idea that to stop making your husband look at other women in the street is to let him off the leash for a week and hopefully get it out of his system is so ludicrous that at least it has the decency to cover this plot point in a very quick and uncomfortable manner as "woman of the year" friend tries to sell it to the two "put upon" wives. And there's the sore point of "Hall Pass" - the whole thing would have undoubtedly been so much funnier if we had the story from the wives side and not the husbands.
Applegate and Fischer, both TV actresses that have delivered comedy effortlessly, are believable and touching in their miss-guided efforts to keep their marriages afloat, or more accurately, keep the boredom at bay. The actual leads - Wilson and Sudeikis - are frankly dull and don't deserve the wives they've got. Wilson's typical delivery of "winging it" dialogue and "surfer-dude" attitude jars with a character that sells real estate, has 3 kids and a wife. It worked for his single guy in "The Wedding Crashers" but not here. Sudeikis, a "Saturday Night Live" persona , fails to liven up the big screen and despite being given all the sight gags, he cannot elevate above the "as* hole best friend" role.
The only decent gag appears during the end credit sequence and it goes to none other than our own Stephen Merchant, who in 3 minutes steals the entire film, not unlike his cameo in "Cemetery Junction."
UK release date: 11/03/11