Hey there! My name is Marian ‘May May’ Kaufman and I will be posting my bi-monthly film reviews that also appear in The Profile here at Agnes Scott! Here’s my scathing review of Hall Pass.
Well, I don’t know what I should be critiquing more, the movie or the life decisions that led me to see it in the first place. An unfortunate series of events, including Atlanta traffic on a Saturday night, forced me to see the last movie showing of the night, Hall Pass. Oh, what I would pay just to get those hours of my life back. At first, I decided not to completely judge the film from its premise of dissatisfied housewives giving their husbands a week off from marriage. I wanted to give it a shot to avoid becoming a total film elitist. Well, now I know it’s ok to have a little elitism when it comes to movies like this.
Hall Pass has a few humorous scenes of glimmering hope in the beginning that lead you to believe you haven’t just wasted ten dollars. Owen Wilson is initially charming as a doting father reading to his children and an attentive husband who respects his wife’s sexually. But this hope is short lived. The film quickly becomes one of the most undeniably misogynistic movies I have seen in recent years, or ever, and with a strange amount of male frontal nudity? Yes, more than Forgetting Sarah Marshall and a lot less funny. At times the sexist and demeaning things that come out of the male characters mouths literally made the men sitting around me in the theatre groan. Jason Sudeikis’ character convinces Owen Wilson that they must take this opportunity to cheat because they have fulfilled their wives’ dreams-the house, the oven, the kids–so now it’s time for husbands’ dreams to come true. I kid you not, this is actual dialogue and never at any point in the film is it refuted. It is stated as a fact that the dreams of the female sex are realty, appliances and babies all of which could only be supplied by men. I don’t think I’m ready to have my dreams decided and supplied by a man that steals his friend identity to trick a woman into bed with him. As the credits rolled I could hear boyfriends apologizing to their dates for their sex.
There is also an impressive array of female characters that fit all the requirements for stereotypical male fantasies: the oversexed babysitter, the aging cougar and of course the foreign girl and hot barista all rolled into one. The women where absent in personality are full of sexual desire for the two aging, nerdy, sex-crazed, fathers and husbands who are the stars of the film. See anything wrong with this picture? I am seriously concerned this film has set back our country by at least fifty years.
A lot of the film’s early promise comes from its delightful cast. How could sweet old Pam from The Office, also known as Jenna Fischer, and the effortlessly adorable Owen Wilson ever let us down? Maybe it was the inch thick coat of splotchy spray tan that blinded Fischer’s respect as a woman when she chose this part. And how could a veteran sweetheart, breast cancer survivor and new mother like Christina Applegate sign on to a project like this? Slow month in Hollywood? Is it right for us to hold our favorite stars to a higher expectation? In this case, I’ll allow it.
Every shtick in comedy is capitalized on, turning this film into an unappetizing hodge-podge of bathroom humor, slapstick, ‘battle of the sexes’ and ill fated sexual encounters. And the ending attempts to wraps up this bundle of cliché characters, explosive diarrhea, trippy pot brownie montages and blatant sexism, all coated with a dark brown spray tan, with a nice little bow that somehow promotes moral values. Now, I will recognize the group of people out there who love to watch horrible movies just for kicks. And if you’re one of them then this one is a goldmine for ya’. Maybe it’s so wrong it’s right? But, if you have any respect for the female or male sex or really any hope in the future of humanity please do not rob yourself of whatever moral compass you might have and see this film. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to look at any of these actors again for a long time, or even myself for having seen this movie. I give it a D.