'Hall Pass' (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
(Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, et al / 2-Disc Blu ray+DVD+Digital Copy / R / 2011 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Find out what happens when two men are granted one week of freedom to indulge in their wildest fantasies in this heartfelt and raucously funny film.
Blu ray Verdict: Some comedies sneak up on you. You think they're going to be brilliant and then they fall flat, or you think they're going to be stale and vulgar and end up being delightfully complex. The latter is the case with HALL PASS. It's a relatively simple premise: two middle-aged men get "hall passes" from their wives, which means they get to spend a week being single. Predictable shenanigans ensue: horrendous pick-up attempts; gross-out gags; dick jokes; drug and booze binges; a redemptive finale.
And yet, HALL PASS manages to carve something original. Not only do Rick and Fred get a week off, but so do their wives--and therein lies much of the depth of the film. Granted, we're not talking a masterpiece here--it's the Farrelly Brothers for crying out loud, and note the absence of two stars in this review. HALL PASS isn't transcendental of its buddy-raunchy film genre; it falls victim to the same flaws, the same generic traps. Yet, there is something in this film that makes it better than much of its ilk. Putting your thumb on exactly WHAT that saving grace is can be tricky, though.
The casting is definitely a plus. Owen Wilson is in good form--he can hit or miss, and here he mostly hits. So to does Jason Sudeikis, despite some rather flat writing for his character. The casting of their wives is truly inspired: the pairing of comedy veterans Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate is utterly delightful, and provides an emotional depth that would otherwise be missing (she's typecast, but darn if Applegate doesn't have great dramatic chops as well).
Perhaps the truly original thing here, at least the part that makes the film stand out from its peers, is how it tackles middle age. These aren't young AMERICAN PIE frat boys; these are over-the-hill, settled-down, one-beer-a-week dads who have been given a chance to sow their wild oat. HALL PASS isn't great, and it's heavily flawed--but yes, it may just surprise you a little, which in this day and age is cause for celebration. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and the Blu-ray comes with the Special Features of:
Extended Cut (Blu-ray only)
Gag Reel (Blu-ray only)