Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Hall Pass Flunks

Plus, Drive Angry is decent grindhouse fare -- for good and ill.

by | February 25, 2011 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got midlife crises (Hall Pass, starring Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) and automotive vengeance (Drive Angry, starring Nicolas Cage and Amber Heard). What do the critics have to say?

Hall Pass

33%

In the past, the Farrelly brothers’ deft mix of raunch and heart made for a potent comedic combination. However, with their latest, Hall Pass, critics say the brothers’ aim is off; though the movie has some very funny moments, it’s bogged down by a little too much gross stuff and a little too much sentimentality. Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis star as a pair of fortysomething buddies whose wives hope to stave off their marital problems by letting the guys live the single life for a week. Soon, however, the boys discover that untamed freedom is a little more than they bargained for. The pundits say Hall Pass is good for a couple gleefully crude gags, but the film is trying too hard to mix comedy with uplift, and has a few too many subplots.

Drive Angry

48%

With a title like Drive Angry, you pretty much know what to expect — lots of action, and Nicolas Cage doing his unhinged thing, with subtlety and nuance left in the dust. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, though critics say Drive Angry only partially delivers on its pedal-to-the-metal premise, offering some cheap thrills to compensate for its so-so script. Cage stars as a dead felon who escapes from Hell (not metaphorically) to rescue his daughter from a cult; hot on his trail is one of Satan’s minions (William Fichtner). The pundits say that those looking for some grindhouse fun will be pleased with Drive Angry‘s goofy energy, but don’t expect disciplined storytelling or much depth beyond the dramatic action set pieces. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down the best-reviewed work of co-star David Morse, as well as Fichtner’s Five Favorite Films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Of Gods and Men, a drama about a group of French monks who are confronted with fear and violence in their midst, is at 85 percent.

  • Public Speaking, Martin Scorsese‘s documentary about author and social critic Fran Lebowitz, is at 83 percent.

  • Heartbeats, the tale of two friends who become obsessed with a mysterious newcomer, is at 65 percent.

  • The Grace Card, about a Southern police chief suffering from a crisis of faith, is at 43 percent.

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