Below are a picture of Nicky Whelan and a two minute clip of Stephen Merchant. Look at these and save yourself the 109 minutes it would take to watch HallPass.
The film stars Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis as married best friends who are entering middle age. Though happily married, they both fondly remember their time as single men where they were free to do whatever they wanted to whoever they wanted. After a series of forgettable mishaps and arguments, both of their wives, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, agree to give them a ‘Hall Pass’ or week off from marriage. The next ninety minutes of your life are spent watching what they get up to.
I decided to watch this film because I’d seen Stephen Merchant in the trailer and thought he seemed funny in the film. I’m a fan of both his solo work and his writing with Ricky Gervais so thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately, he is only on screen for about four minutes. While he is the funniest thing in these few fleeting moments, it is not nearly enough and the rest of the film is very thin on the ground with laughter. I found myself smile a couple of times and chuckle once.
The idea of a HallPass is interesting and occasionally the film skirts around the philosophy of relationships. I wish there had been more of this as these were often the best moments of the film. The rest of the film is spent watching a couple of forty-somethings eat food, lie on hotel beds and occasionally try to meet women. Their disastrous attempts are meant to be funny but just aren’t and when things do start to change for the better for Owen Wilson’s character, he is pursued by a beautiful college student (Alexandra Daddario) and gorgeous barista (Nicky Whelan) which just seemed a little unlikely given his failed attempts to attract a woman throughout the rest of the film. What Fischer and Applegate get up to is more interesting and I think the film would have benefitted from spending more time with them.
One Film No Laughs
Towards the end, the film comes to the incredible conclusion that actually both men and women like sex (who knew?) and that although relationships can be difficult at times, they need to be worked at and everyone lives happily ever after… Snore.
The acting is not terrible but there is nothing for the actors to do. Everyone seems to have one eye on their bank balance, plodding through until they can move on to something else.