Yep, it’s a Farrelly Brothers movie. You can tell from the opening moments as the free-wheeling gags start flowing with no possible restraint. There’s something about these two that separate them from the current raunch trend established by Judd Apatow, somehow generating a style and timing all their own even in the face of such celebrated competition.
It’s not just gross out humor, although Hall Pass has plenty of that. If you thought Psycho would change the way you looked at showers, Hall Pass has a moment that won’t let you enter one without a complete coating of bleach. The Farrelly Brothers always have some type of kooky idea to push things forward, in this case, the title card.
Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are given free reign to do as they wish for a week outside of their otherwise loving marriages, mostly because their wives believe it will eliminate their urges for other women. Intertwined here outside of the typical sex drive is a middle aged farce, where guys go outside of their league, deal with their inability to bring their “A” game, and otherwise act awkward.
Hall Pass never loses its sense of fun, which is probably why it’s so easy to watch. It has an energy about it, and so does the cast. Their own sense of enjoyment with the material translates to the viewer, and this four-way credited script undoubtedly is the source of it all. One of the keys to the modern sex comedy is to be brazen sure, but find ways to rename the norm. Here, you’re introduced to “Knight Rider,” and right now, what that’s referring to is the last thing on your mind.
The film is steadfast with its humor, producing a boisterous approach to romance, plus one where it wraps up some romantic comedy norms and slams a crowbar into them… literally. The Farrelly’s still have it even in an era dominated by comedies that are supposed to have heart or a soft spot. Who needs that when you have explosive diarrhea?
On Blu-ray, this comedic romp comes across as… okay. There’s no overwhelming negative quality to the presentation aside from some of the usual Warner encoding quirks. The mid-range suffers the most, a rather ugly and putrid quality that never quite grasps the finer details of the film stock. It’s meandering and even a little soft, not really unpleasant to look at, just annoying.
Up close, the transfer proves inconsistent, providing occasionally intricate definition that should be the hallmark of all modern films minted from fresh masters. Other times, it proves selfish and won’t even give up the most basic of textures. There’s even a hint of smoothing in place, although contained to a few shots which makes it somewhat out of place (as if it ever has a place).
Hall Pass doesn’t have its own distinct look, following the current trend of exaggerated orange flesh tones, while other primaries receive their own boost. Exteriors look great with their bold, vibrant hues, and any area loaded with saturation will of course benefit. A pure, mildly noisy (in the right conditions) grain structure tends to become apparent when the background is pushing brighter objects, that little aura of chroma noise nothing but a miniscule distraction.
Black levels carry some kick when they want to, a slow motion shot of the male cast walking through an Applebee’s parking lot crushed beyond all recognition. That’s actually a little too much kick, but elsewhere it’s fine. They exist for dimensionality and some of that HD pop, which is exactly what they should be doing here.
Dialogue driven as it is, Hall Pass tries to act hip and hang with the HD audio “in-crowd,” a club scene just shy of the hour mark enough to get the subwoofer pumping out a throbbing, tightly wound low-end. It’s wonderfully balanced, keeping the music down as characters chatter, while other guests holler and cheer in the surrounds for some additional ambiance. It’s certainly more lively than Applebees.
The film ends with some unexpected gunfire, each round producing a fairly substantial jolt that is as crisp as you would expect it to be. Clarity is exceptional here even if the disc isn’t producing a resoundingly active surround field. Dialogue is specifically contained in the center where it should be, and is always prominent. Score one for adequacy.
Meager is pretty sufficient to get the point across about these extras, not including the unrated cut also on the disc. You’ll get an extra 10-minutes of material in that version. A sole deleted scene and outtakes reel become the only bonuses, and combined it’s about five minutes worth of stuff. How not involving. Warner adds non-specific to the movie BD-Live access too.