Friday, February 25, 2011

Temporal Dissonance

"Hall Pass," which opens today, is about two middle-aged upscale-suburban married guys (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekis) getting into hijinks during a weeklong "hiatus" from marriage (or, rather, from marital-fidelity) bestowed by their fed-up wives (summary of charges: they check out other women). The logic at play is that married men "romanticize" their single days, and being reminded how difficult the dating scene is - and how out-of-practice they are - will bludgeon the guys into appreciation of of homebody-hood.

Dopey premise, to be sure, especially when you remember that no mainstream comedy would DARE let the story go in any direction other than "monogamy: It's the bee's kness!" But it's got it's moments, and it's a step back up to "average" for the Farrelly Bros. after "Heartbreak Kid." Except... something about it just rang incredibly false to me, and I'm a little annoyed that it took this long for me to pinpoint it.


Okay, so... wicked-shocker: They don't really get much action, and 90% of the comedy is seeing them strike out in bars, clubs, resturaunts, massage-parlors, whatever. Now, admittedly, it's about what you'd expect from two married suburbanites trying to jump back into the game... but for some reason I wasn't buying it. At all. I couldn't really explain it, and then it hit me (literally) a minute or two ago: The internet doesn't seem to exist in this movie.

Think about it: This premise has ZERO verisimilitude in the age of the online-hookup. These guys aren't trying to have affairs, they're openly just going for a succession of one-night-stands. And they aren't exactly paupers - these are well-off dudes with big houses in the burbs. What the FUCK are they doing on the club scene!? "Married men seeking discreet quickie" is their predicament in the movie - but in real life it's the near-literal selling point of hundreds of extremely lucrative businesses. But it NEVER comes up once in the movie! (Unless I missed it.)

Am I nuts, or is this up there with doing a present-day "lost in the woods" movie and not even addressing cell-phones? I mean, show of hands - if any married 40something guy you know got this kind of "Pass" from his wife in the real world... his first (or at least within-first-five) "moves" is to get on the equivalent of Craigslist, no?


akkuma420 said...

Have yet to see the movie, so I really can't say much.
I assume there is a moral at the end of the story at some point.
I assume they don't end up getting any action and they realize that they had what they needed/wanted right in front of them all along... bla bla bla.
If this is correct, I also assume they didn't include the Craigslist route because that moral wouldn't have been able to be stressed and probably would have went something like this instead... "Moral of the story is that you NEED to cheat every now and then to maintain a happy a successful relationship".
Like I said though, have yet to see the movie and I'm probably completely wrong.
Just doing a whole lot of assuming at the moment.

Nick said...

Maybe they just don't want to put ideas into the heads of impressionable audiences?

After all, since the moral has to be "A stable monogamous heterosexual marriage is the key to all health and happiness," Craigslist would be too easy an "out" for the guys.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

This bothers me about movies in general. The internet doesn't seem to exist in Hollywood except as the occasional poorly used plot device.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

I HATED being single. I've been married for eight years and knowing the same woman loves me every morning I wake up is something I wouldn't trade for the world. Nothing about being single appeals to me in any way, so let me assure you, Bob that its not a total load of crap.

As for the whole "no internet" aspect to the movie...I dunno. I'm guessing its because a guy sending out emails to random chicks isn't nearly exciting enough. I mean, the club scene and guys in their middle ages just screams "Fish out of water" concept. Not sure who this movie was supposed to appeal to, because it's a pretty piss poor wife who just tells her husband to go nuts for a week. In my mind, they have problems that a week of random strange booty can fix.

Zukonub said...

Maybe since they're 40, they don't know how to use the internet?

The Partisan said...


THIS. They're just going with what they know from when they were single, which was mostly likely early 90's.

Scott Glasgow said...

aaaand there's a singles sex site ad on the bottom of the page. Well, we know where this came from!

Joe said...

Kind of like how Phonebooth took place in the last standalone upright phone booth in New York City?

Novice said...

I am so tired of movies claiming that guys are obsessed with sex and for some bizarre reason once a woman gets married, she's no longer interested as much as he is.

I've got two kids, and my former "best ass on campus" now has a map of the stretch marks on it, and my husband and I still love our marital relations, and if I ever gave him a free pass, he'd think I was joking, because what's not satisfying him about US?

Although, there is an Anne Hathaway/Ryan Robbins clause. If either of us get that opportunity, we're taking it and it's totally okay.

Nick said...

Novice makes a good point. The "good girls are permanent virgins" mentality of the writers shines through.

And coupled with the mandatory "heterosexual monogamous marriage is the only healthy lifestyle" message, it just serves to further accelerate the "Sex Is Evil" message.

And right-wing pundits actually claim that Hollywood is liberal...

tyra menendez said...

So it sounds like it's right up Allen's alley, a bland, predictable, outdated upholder of the status quo.