Hall Pass movie review

Feb 25, 2011 at 12:50 p.m. ET

The Farrelly brothers are back in their comfort zone by offering audiences a comical Hall Pass that showcases the comedic talents of its stars: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer.

Right off the bat, we must say that Hall Passis insanely funny. The writing is sharp and silly and provides the right hysterical laughs-to-chuckles ratio. The reason the premise of the film works for us is how it shows the flip side of the Hall Pass.

Hall Pass stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis

The Hall Pass story is a relatively unique one. Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate) are tired of their husbands Rick and Fred's (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) attitudes when it comes to their obsession with the fairer sex even though they are seemingly otherwise happily married. Through two very different circumstances, Maggie and Grace decide to give their husbands a hall pass: One week free from marriage's contract without any sort of repercussions. The premise is solid. Single life isn't easy street and as such provides comic gold for the Farrelly brothers and their two male leads -- Wilson and Sudeikis.

Hall Pass proves to be an equal opportunity conundrum. If the men are free to roam as they like, shouldn't their wives also be able to be free of the rules of marriage? As Applegate and Fischer's characters head to a family beach house, they cross that bridge. That aspect of the story provides a perfect anecdote to the "adventure" Wilson and Sudeikis are having as bachelors. The film's main home is in Providence where both couples reside. The wives take the kids to Cape Cod to allow their husbands a hall pass completely free of entanglements. What winds up happening in Cape Cod turns the entire Hall Pass premise on its head and kudos to the Farrelly brothers and their significant others who suggested that layer to the story.

Wilson and Sudeikis are both comedy masterminds. Each is so comically astute -- they can bring a laugh solely with a look. In Hall Pass, Sudeikis and Wilson are allowed to flex their funny muscles with much more than a simple gaze.

Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate

Applegate and Fischer are equally adept at comic timing and are perfectly cast as the wives of the looney tunes team of Sudeikis and Wilson. Fischer leaps out of her Pam role on The Office with a frustration with Wilson's Rick that is palpable. Applegate, as always, is a comedy champ. We'll watch her in anything. Period.

Much has been said about whether comedy has passed the Farrelly brothers by. The creators of There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Me Myself and Irene and the upcoming The Three Stooges haven't missed a beat when it comes to going laugh for laugh with the Judd Apatows of the world. Hall Pass misses the mark at times, we must be honest. But in this day and age, a decent comedy is hard to come by and the Farrelly brothers' latest provides laughs in the bank.

Hall Pass movie review

Out of five stars...