Hall Pass review (Blu-ray) ?

Hall Pass details the exploits of two married men, Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis), who are beginning to find their married life a bit tired and stale. Their wives (Applegate and Fischer) are then advised to grant their husbands a "hall pass" to freshen up their love lives – a hall pass being a one-week break from marriage, granting the holder the freedom to sleep with whomever they wish. Rick and Fred gleefully snatch this opportunity, meaning frivolity and laughter should follow.

This Blu-ray release features an enlarged edition of the film with even more material included. Many directors have utilised this option to improve upon the theatrical cuts of their work, Ridley Scott most notably with Blade Runner & Kingdom of Heaven, the Farelly brothers unfortunately have managed to add more weight to an already incredibly misconceived project.

This film sets out its stall from the outset, letting you know how this world works. Men are absolute savages with nothing but sex on their mind at all times of the day, with every man gawping endlessly at each woman that walks by. One of the major early issues with the movie is the two unlikeable leads. Both happily married men with successful jobs and yet they are incredibly greedy, deluded gentlemen going through some sort of mid-life crisis.

However these characters are not your loveable young virgins eager to lose their V cards these are lecherous, married men eager to sleep with anything that moves and not concerned of the consequences. Wilson even blames his young daughter for 'cock-blocking' him at one point. Which leads to a major question, how do their wives put up with their outrageous behaviour? The situation is just not believable and it stems from Wilson and Sudeikis' characters and their motivations. Occasionally the supporting cast will tell them to grow up and I shared their thoughts exactly.

The American Pie tale involving middle-aged men simply didn't work, the comedy goes beyond raunchy to crude and adolescent. It's a delicate area to work around and can achieve strong results with a film such as Old School showing how guys past their prime can enjoy themselves but Hall Pass is misguided and goes several steps too far, striking the wrong tone completely. Furthermore this film struggles with the basics – secondary characters come and go with little to no build up or pay off, plus there is a shameless and conspicuous plug for the restaurant chain Applebee's. Even a bizarre appearance from Richard Jenkins in the dreary second half of the film doesn't inject much energy into the piece. We are supposed to be impressed an amused with his Sherlock Holmes gift of analysing women and picking the most vulnerable woman in a room for devious purposes.  The objectifying of women is simply stunning. Of course, the wives are then plucked from the morale high ground as they then go to a random baseball game, meet some players and manage to become romantically entwined with two infatuated men, losing all their credibility. Considering the Farellys have created some strong female characters in the past it's quite a surprise to witness.

There are some miniscule positives, mostly when the film briefly steps away from sex there are a few amusing moments such as a wealthy family showing off their new mansion or the pathetic chat up lines on offer but of course just as I began to enjoy myself the film delved into crudity. The supporting characters do provide a few laughs with Stephen Merchant looking incredibly out of place but providing a lesson or two in how to make an audience laugh.

The Farelly brothers' career has peaked and troughed more than most directors but  this is a really poor show, with an incredibly tedious last hour with a predictable outcome for all concerned. This film absolutely limped to the finish line and it's only standout comedy moment was involving Merchant in a post-credits scene. Anyone would be commended to make it that far. Avoid at all costs.

EXTRAS ★ A really poor collection. There's one deleted scene, which features Jenkins' introduction. Nothing special, but like the Steve Merchant scene, it's surprising to find it cut. And therre's a gag reel - including a moment where filming was stopped due to an airplane flying overhead. It lacked jokes and was simply production mistakes, described by one actress in the video as the most boring gag reel ever.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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