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MOVIE REVIEW: Hall Pass (Video)

The Farrelly brothers give us another raunchy comedy

Hall Pass

Hall Pass

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  • Hall Pass
  • (L-R) Owen Wilson as Rick and Jason Sudeikis as Fred in "Hall Pass."
  • (L-R) Jenna Fischer as Maggie and Christina Applegate as Grace in "Hall Pass."
  • (L-R) Jason Sudeikis as Fred and Owen Wilson as Rick in "Hall Pass."
  • Hall Pass
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The Farrelly brothers are back with another raunchy comedy. The guys that gave us the very funny There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Stuck on You, and the underrated King Pin – have a movie that isn’t as funny as any of those.

It has enough laughs that anybody going to see a comedy won’t be disappointed (if they can handle a few very gross bathroom humor jokes). Some of the jokes fall flat or appear to have been written by Beavis & Butthead; but if you laugh enough times in a movie, as I did in this, I have to recommend it.

The critics are praising Cedar Rapids, and this movie has just as many laughs as that did. Yet that movie is being praised and this film is going to be panned.

So often filmmakers get the rock T-shirts all wrong. In this, Owen Wilson wears a Born in the USA tee and another time, Huey Lewis and the News. Now, having him sport a Hawaiian shirt when he goes to a club I might buy. I have to think most middle-aged men, even if they did like Huey Lewis, probably don’t have shirts; or they’d know they aren’t the hippest band around. But, when Will Ferrell wore a Pablo Cruise shirt in Step Brothers -- that was funny.

Speaking of which, Ferrell had a fun cameo as the king of the crashers in Wedding Crashers. In this movie, that character is played nicely by Richard Jenkins (The Visitor). He points out all the things the guys need to look for when trying to pick up women.

And why would two married men (Wilson and Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis) be trying to pick up women? Their wives (Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer) talk to a friend/author (of TV talk show fame, Joy Behar), who suggests letting the husbands have a “hall pass” for a week, to get anything out of their system.

Sure, it’s implausible to think of any wife giving their man a pass, but for a silly comedy they make it seem at least a little believable. Especially since Applegate is convinced they won’t have luck. And when they head to Applebee’s, we think she may be right.

It was a nice surprise to see Stephen Merchant, whom I loved from the original Office, getting his biggest movie role yet. And make sure you stay during the closing credits. One guy in the lobby of the movie theater missed Merchant in a very funny scenario where he imagines his wife giving him a hall pass.

As poorly as the movie was with their choice of rock shirts, they did a good job with the music. There’s a scene with someone listening to the Styx song"Best of Times" that, while not quite as funny as Kyle on South Park singing"Come Sail Away," does illicit a huge laugh.I was happy with a lot of the music choices. I heard Peter Wolf, Black Mountain, Deer Tick, Cypress Hill, Gordon Gano, The Beach Boys, Pete Yorn, Spoon, and Snow Patrol – who are also talked about in the film when Wilson does what all middle-aged men have tried before – talking to a younger person about a contemporary band they like with disastrous results.

It was also a disaster having Joy Behar in a small part, although you can’t fault the filmmakers. She’ll surely talk about the movie now on her two shows.I did enjoy a surprise cameo by another red-haired female comedian later in the film.

Listen, this isn’t going to go down as one of the best comedies of all-time. Heck, it wouldn’t even make the top five of a Farrelly brothers list.You definitely laugh enough to make this worth your time. The packed theater I was in laughed so loud on at least five occasions, that you couldn’t hear the next line.

I’m giving it a B-.