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HALL PASS ($36) is a movie that leaves me wondering whatever happened to the Farrelly Brothers? When I see their names on a movie, I think that I be sitting down to another crude, rude and utterly hilarious outing like DUMB AND DUMBER, KINGPIN or THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. HALL PASS had the potential to take us to the dizzying comic depths of their past glories, but seems to play it safe most to the time, trying to be warm and fuzzy instead of outrageous and hilarious. Ultimately, HALL PASS is a middle of the road comedy, mostly amusing with a few hilarious moments sprinkled throughout the film.

The premise of HALL PASS concerns two couples Rick (Owen Wilson) and Maggie (Jenna Fischer), who are best friends with Fred (Jason Sudeikis) and Grace (Christina Applegate). Both couples are entering the middle age doldrums and have become bored with their sex lives, with the men remembering their youths and single life a little too enthusiastically… much to the chagrin of their spouses. After a conversation with their friend Dr. Lucy (Joy Behar), Maggie and Grace decide to give their husbands a "hall pass" or a week off from marriage, so they can sow their last wild oats. While initially skeptical of their wives’ offer, Rick and Fred find themselves left to their own devices for a week, and decide to take advantage of the situation. Much of the humor of HALL PASS comes from watching these complacent married men, cluelessly venture into a world for which they are out of step and ill-equipped to deal- sort of like pamper house cats left to fend for themselves on the Serengeti… and thinking they may actually get away with it. The cast of HALL PASS also features Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Merchant, Larry Joe Campbell, Bruce Thomas, Tyler Hoechlin, Derek Waters, Alexandra Daddario, Rob Moran and Lauren Bowles.

Warner Home Video has made HALL PASS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. HALL PASS features an appealing 1080p presentation that is very easy on the eyes. Image sharpness and dimensionality are generally quite good, as is the level of texturing. Fine details like individual hairs and imperfections in the actor’s skin are equally well rendered. Sure, there are some softer shots, but nothing seems out of sorts. Colors appear warm and very vibrant, while flesh tones occasionally appear to have spent too much time in a tanning parlor. Blacks are usually quite deep, while the whites appear clean. Contrast is very smooth. This being a comedy, the material never makes extensive demands for shadow detail reproduction, which is otherwise fine. The elements from which HALL PASS has been mastered are free from flaws. Some moments display more grain than others, which maintains a film like quality of the presentation.

HALL PASS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Talky by nature, HALL PASS features a fairly standard comedy mix. Sure there are some moments when active effects are tossed into the outlying channels, but there isn’t anything that stands out. As expected, ambience and fill are the primary components fed to surround channels, while there is a nice stereo image across the front. Fidelity is just fine; with the lossless encode enhancing the music. The bass channel keeps things grounded, but there aren’t any ground shaking opportunities for the subwoofer. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Starting things off is the Enlarged Edition extended cut of the film, which doesn’t get down and dirty enough to compete with earlier Farrelly Brothers classics. A Deleted Scene and Gag Reel close the standard extras. HALL PASS is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray, along with a Digital Copy of the film.

Definitely good for some chuckles, HALL PASS is a modestly amusing offering from the Farrelly Brothers, which pales in comparison to lowbrow comic triumphs like DUMB AND DUMBER, KINGPIN and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. The Blu-ray presentation is attractive and doesn’t disappoint on a technical level.


Hall Pass (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (2011)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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