The Farrelly Brothers have carved a distinctive niche for themselves in American comedic film. Their envelope pushing gross out methods mask a deeper humanistic and cultural tendency to lay bare our foibles, secrets and inconsistencies.
Almost all of their films have been successful at this task, while also being misunderstood, mislabeled or aggrandized as Hollywood pomp, when anyone with the heart and mind could see them for who they truly are-arguably the finest directors of comedy in our country.
Now don't get me wrong. They have faltered before, in tone, pace and overall judgment for a film, but rarely. Their newest, Hall Pass, is unfortunately one of these. The amiable Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis are the perpetual boy men of American comedic movie lore, married but ogling the next best thing, mired in their immaturity and loving every second of it. Their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate), sick of their antics, give them a "hall pass" for a week off of marriage, to do what they will and ergo strengthen the ties that bind.
What ensues is a series of sexual hi-jinks, many of them hilarious, all outrageously offensive. Yet the film cannot escape the tiresome plot mechanisms entrapping it and almost all mainstream comedy. Still, there is the inescapable fact that beneath it all is the Farrelly heart, which is more than a hundred Hangovers could say to us.