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HALL PASS

About The Production
HALL PASS: One week off from marriage to do whatever you want, no questions asked.

Rick and his buddy Fred consider themselves average, maybe even above-average, husbands. Easygoing, dependable and gainfully employed, they're the kind of guys who aren't averse to pitching in with the household chores now and then, or stopping by the dry cleaner's… the kind of guys who wouldn't dream of cheating on their wives. Well, actually they would. Not cheat on them, necessarily, but dream about it. Every single day. With every woman they see.

"Rick is happily married, with kids and a wife he loves. He has a good job, a nice existence but, like a lot of men, he can't help noticing women and this irritates his wife,” says Peter Farrelly, who, with his brother Bobby Farrelly, directed and produced "Hall Pass.” The Farrellys also share screenwriting credit with Pete Jones and Kevin Barnett. Together, they felt that this eminently relatable scenario was ripe for some frank and irreverent exploration.

"The first thing that struck me about the story was how much comic potential it had. It's a universal theme. If God came to me and said, ‘Pete, you're with the hottest woman on the planet, she's the best and there's no one better,' I'd probably still want to take a look at the second-best,” Peter admits. "Even if you're happily married and committed, it doesn't mean you stop looking. The question is how far do you take it?”

Owen Wilson, who stars as the easily distracted suburban dad, Rick, agrees. "Most guys can't help noticing a good-looking woman walk by, but some of them do a better job at being subtle about it. With others, like Rick, it's like they have their heads on a swivel.”

One of the ideas behind "Hall Pass” is that men—and women, too—are just hardwired to look. And occasionally, they may also wonder. What if I wasn't married? What could I be doing now? And with whom? Being a Farrelly brothers comedy, such probing philosophic questions are bound to lead down some dangerously slippery slopes.

Says Bobby Farrelly, "A lot of people joke about the seven-year itch and this is sort of an updated version of that. When you're dealing with the sacred institution of marriage, you're playing with fire, so we knew we had to handle it just right. But we weren't afraid of tackling the subject and we certainly weren't going to hold back on any of the jokes or the temptations…or anything else. If we think it's funny, Pete and I will go for it. We love pushing the envelope.”

Rick's best friend Fred attempts a higher level of finesse with his gawking— locking his gaze into position slightly ahead of his quarry—but that strategy fools no one, least of all his wife. Starring as Fred, Jason Sudeikis remarks, "Rick and Fred aren't the coolest guys in the world but they don't know that. I always find it funny when people think they're so sharp and act like know what they're talking about when, clearly, they don't.”

The bottom line is these two are out of control and their spouses have had it. The last straw is when Rick's wife, Maggie, and Fred's wife, Grace, are unspeakably humiliated at a party where their guys' R-rated commentary on the female guests is exposed. The women realize it's time to take drastic action to revive their marriages—if, in fact, they're worth reviving. It's time to show their shameless husbands how good they have it at home by giving them a week off to indulge their fantasies and see what they might actually be missing out there…or forever hold their peace.

It's time to break out the hall pass.

Granted, it's a radical approach, but, after more than a decade of doing the slow burn, it's a risk the women are ready to take, especially since the idea comes from a source they trust: their good friend and pop psychiatrist Dr. Lucy, a key supporting role played by "The View's” Joy Behar. Encouraged by Dr. Lucy's endorsement, Maggie and Grace not only offer, but insist, that Rick and Fred take some time off to get whatever it is out of their systems.

"Since the guys are under the impression that if it weren't for their wives they'd be living wildly different lives, why not cut them loose for a week and let them find out the hard way what it's really like out there?,” Peter suggests.

Jenna Fisher, who stars as Maggie, acknowledges, "Everyone has been in a relationship that could use a bit of spice and maybe they've tried something out-of-the-box, whatever that might be. A hall pass is certainly extreme, but the idea behind it is relatable and I believe these characters come from a real and familiar place.”

"Who knows? It might be a healthy thing if a relationship isn't working because a couple wonders if they're missing something,” says Christina Applegate, starring opposite Sudeikis as Fred's wife, Grace. "When two people are together a long time, they can sometimes get to that place. Still, I wouldn't be giving a hall pass to my man. He can forget about that!,” she laughs.

For Rick and Fred, it's suddenly Christmas, their birthdays and the Super Bowl all wrapped up into one: a gift so incredible it leaves their envious buddies awestruck. They hardly know where to begin.

"But it's not going to be as easy as they think,” Bobby warns.

"It's a classic case of ‘Be careful what you wish for,'” says Bradley Thomas, one of the film's producers along with Charles B. Wessler, and one of the Farrellys' longtime creative collaborators. "I think the dream of a hall pass far exceeds the reality. Imagine sitting around your house thinking, ‘Man, I wish I was at those clubs with all those beautiful girls. There'd be no stopping me. If only I was single.' Then, imagine being at those clubs and it's awful, and no one will talk to you. One thing I've come to realize is that my single friends are complete frauds on this subject. Being a free bird, being able to do whatever you want all the time…it's not so great.”

Still, the guys are honor-bound to try. As Fred passionately proclaims when an exhausted and discouraged Rick is ready to throw in the towel on day three, if they don't cash in big on this unprecedented opportunity they will have failed not only themselves but all of mankind.

"There are a lot of risks here, but also a lot of fun to be had,” says screenwriter Kevin Barnett, of this unconventional social experiment and the clueless Casanovas leading the charge. "The reality is, a lot of guys think below the waist and we wanted to deal with that.”

"‘As much as ‘Hall Pass' is a comedy,” adds screenwriter Pete Jones, "you never lose sight of the fact that there are consequences to what these characters do.”

Sudeikis believes the quandary will resonate with audiences because, "I can imagine the conversations being had after people see it. You're laughing and having a good time, then, afterwards, you might be asking each other, ‘What would you do if you had a hall pass? Could you handle it?' I think it could open up many cans with many worms.”

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