Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis), 40-something-year olds, are confident they could fulfill the dreams of countless young, gorgeous women that are dying to be with them, if it weren’t for their wives getting in the way. The guys even trade secrets on how to sneak peeks at women in passing without Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate), their wives, detecting it.
Fed up with the boys’ gawking and fantasizing about other women, they take advice from a friend, Dr. Lucy (Joy Behar) and grant their husbands a Hall Pass: One week to indulge in guilt free pleasure outside of marriage. The wives will be on a getaway of their own in Cape Cod, leaving the guys to roam free like unleashed pups.
Let the games begin!
On day one of their seven day quest, the guys and their married “homies” – whose hall passes are only vicarious – hit hot spot Applebee’s to scope out the potential. As you can guess, not much comes of a night at this family-friendly suburban eatery. The evening ends with them sitting slouched at a booth with plates full of rib bones and empty wine bottles in front them, lifeless and ready to go home. It’s only 9 o’clock. But Rick urges the bros to preserve and pace themselves for the long week ahead.
However, it doesn’t get much better, as the guys’ memories are quite foggy of where to find available women and how futile the dating game can be. Their buddies desert them after they realize that the two hall pass possessors are all talk and no action, and they only romanticize about being single; which is partially true but doesn’t stop them from prowling.
On day two, Rick passes out at a club after a couple of drinks and Fred gets punched out after a night of using failed internet pick-up lines. Over the next few days Rick makes friendly with a young barista who helps reveal how uncool and detached he is from the dating scene. A few times they even consider throwing in the towel and quitting. The unsuccessful streak almost wreaks havoc on their entire week until friend and pick-up artist, Coakley (Richard Jenkins), attempts to coach them. Fred then brings a willing young lady back to his hotel room only for her to get sick and do something so grotesque, plans of hooking up are out of the question.
Meanwhile, Maggie and Grace are having more fun than expected during the week off, having no problem finding men to replace their husbands for the week. This helps them realize the hall pass was perhaps more for them and not their sex-obsessed husbands.
Overall, though the concept seemed a bit unrealistic and the theme misogynistic – which is tough to ignore – the execution was surprisingly funny. Some guys' imaginations tend to run wild and cause them to under-appreciate their wives and girlfriends. This was an entertaining portrayal of that, earning this film 3 out of 4 stars.
FYI to ladies and gentleman: Without being too specific, the nudity in this film is unexpected and abrupt. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.