You can’t underestimate just how difficult it is to create scenes that produce big, breath-taking laughs. Any movie that can come up with three or more has to be given the benefit of the doubt.
“Hall Pass” does. There are four or five moments that had me howling – moments of lewd, crude, vulgar humor that cross the line eagerly. Which shows that the Farrelly brothers (“There’s Something About Mary”) have almost found their groove again.
Still, you have to wade through a lot of slow, slack story in “Hall Pass” to get to the big laughs. It’s a tale of two suburban dweebs (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis), whose wives are tired of their juvenile obsession with ogling and commenting upon other women. So the wives say, in essence, “Take a week off and go get your ya-yas out. No questions asked.”
The joke, of course, is that, given this freedom, these guys don’t have a clue what to do. They’ve got no game and, it’s eventually revealed, no will to cheat. But most of that part of the film is slow-going.
On the bright side, this could be the movie that launches Jason Sudeikis from “Saturday Night Live” into movie stardom. The guy has a big talent and a wide range, much of which he gets to show here. Wilson, by contrast, is misused and rarely funny.
But, as I said, “Hall Pass” may be worth sitting through – or renting in the future – for those big laughs. Those aren’t easy to come by – and sometimes enduring a weak movie is the price you have to pay.
2 1/2 stars (Out of 5)