Rick and Fred, two husbands who are having difficulty in their marriages, are given a Hall Pass by their wives: for one week, they can do whatever they want.
It was theatrically released on February 25, 2011. The film received mixed critical reviews and was a moderate box office success by grossing over $83 million.
Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are best friends, as are their wives, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate). They are both unhappy with their married lives and missing the old days when they were single. Realizing this, their wives talk to their friend Dr. Lucy (Joy Behar) and decide to give them a "Hall Pass": a week off from marriage during which they can have sex with other women. They are skeptical at first, but ultimately accept the offers and try to pick up women with their friends Gary (Stephen Merchant), Flats (J. B. Smoove) and Hog Head (Larry Joe Campbell). Maggie and Grace spend Rick and Fred's "Hall Pass Week" at Maggie's parents' house in Cape Cod, where Grace flirts with athlete Gerry (Tyler Hoechlin). She says that if their husbands have Hall Passes, so should they.
With their wives and children away, Fred and Rick check in at a hotel and prepare for their Hall Pass Week. On day one, they decide to eat before going to a local bar and get too tired to spend the night there, preferring to stay at the hotel.
On day two, they eat hash brownies and decide to play golf, but get too high and wreak havoc on the golf course.
On day three, Rick and Fred go to a bar with their friends but fail to impress the women there. They decide to get drunk in order to become more loose, but go too far and wind up getting into a fight with other customers. They spend day four at the hotel suffering from a hangover.
On day five, Rick goes to a local coffee shop where he flirts with an attractive waitress named Leigh (Nicky Whelan), much to the annoyance of her co-worker Brent who insults Rick. When Rick answers him back, Leigh is impressed and tells Rick that they might see each other at the local gym. They later meet there, and Leigh invites Rick for a beer after they work out. Rick decides to sit in the hot tub instead, but falls asleep and stays there for several hours, ending up with his muscles too weak to use and forced to accept the help of two naked men to leave - much to his dismay. Meanwhile, Grace and Gerry get closer, while Maggie finds herself attracted to Gerry's coach.
On day six, Rick and Fred go to a bar called Enter the Dragon with their friend Coakley (Richard Jenkins), where Rick meets his children's babysitter Paige (Alexandra Daddario), who has just turned 21 and is with her aunt Meg. Paige is attracted to Rick, but he shoots her down to dance with Leigh. Brent, the party's DJ, is angry at this. After the party is over, Rick goes to party at Coakley's while Fred takes a girl to his hotel room. However, she feels sick, and after a minor incident in the bathroom, is sent back home by Fred before they can have sex. Later that evening, Paige's aunt shows up at the room and mistakes Fred for Rick, eventually seducing him. Fred begins to fake oral sex on Meg.
Meanwhile, Gerry's coach tries to seduce Maggie, but she rebuffs him. Grace, on the other hand, has sex with Gerry, but tells him it will be just that one time. On her way back home, she feels guilty about cheating on Fred and has a car accident.
At Coakley's house, Rick is approached by Brent, who is angry at Rick for going out with Leigh. Leigh calms Brent, then finds Rick alone in a bedroom and offers him a one-time fling. He initially wants to do it, but ultimately rebuffs her, unable to cheat on Maggie. After answering Fred's phone, Rick learns of Grace's accident and makes his way to the hotel to tell him. In the lobby he finds Paige, who thinks he was having sex with Meg. They enter the room and find Fred having fake sex with her. After finding out the truth, Meg kicks Fred in the face.
Upon hearing about Grace's accident, Fred tries to go to the hospital but finds Brent vandalizing what he thought was Rick's car. Upon seeing Meg, his mother, at the hotel, Brent thinks Fred has had sex with her and tries to kill him as well, but runs out of bullets and is tackled by Paige and Meg. Rick and Fred make their way to the hospital with Brent and the police chasing them. At the hospital, Brent is arrested for attacking them and Fred finds out Grace only broke her nose.
Rick goes back home to Maggie. He tells her he did not use the Hall Pass and remembers the time he lost his virginity to her. She is the only woman he has ever been with. Moved by his declaration, Maggie tells him she did not use her Hall Pass either, and they reconcile and have sex for the first time in months.
Fred and Grace also reconcile and decide to hide their cheating from one another. However, Fred ultimately confesses that he used his Hall Pass with Meg when Grace asks him to take her to see Kathy Griffin.
During the credits, Fred hosts a barbecue where he pays Kathy Griffin to be present. Noticing how happy Maggie and Grace are following the Hall Pass week, Gary's wife suggests that she give him a Hall Pass. After a fantasy where he sleeps with a married woman, resulting in the death of her, her husband, her grandmother and several innocent bystanders (and ending with him getting raped in prison), Gary agrees to "give it a whirl".
The project began as a spec script written by Pete Jones, which the Farrelly brothers purchased in September 2005, paying a "high six-figure[s]." Conundrum Entertainment, the Farrelly brothers production partnership with Bradley Thomas, produced the film, along with Charlie Wessler. Owen Wilson was the first of the two leads to commit to the project; Sudeikis was the Farrelly brothers choice for the other lead role, but as of January 2010 it was still uncertain whether his commitment to his work on Saturday Night Live permitted his participation.
Principal photography began in February 2010 in Atlanta, with Christina Applegate, Alyssa Milano, Larry Campbell and Vanessa Angel as late additions to the cast. Although filmed in Georgia, the film's setting, like most Farrelly brothers films, is New England; specifically Providence, Rhode Island. Georgia was chosen due to incentives introduced by the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act of 2008; according to the Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Hall Pass was part of Hollywood's nearly one billion outlay in the state during 2010; Marc Fischer, an executive producer of Hall Pass, called Atlanta both more economical and easier to shoot in than Boston. Fischer, also an executive producer for the Farrelly brothers' The Three Stooges film, had by May 2010 already begun pre-production work in Georgia for that film.
Amanda Bynes was originally set to star in the film, but was replaced by Alexandra Daddario shortly after filming began.
This is the third time that Jason Sudeikis and Christina Applegate starred together in a film, the others being The Rocker and Going the Distance.
Hall Pass was #1 on opening day with $4.6 million, and initial estimates showed it at #2 for the weekend behind Gnomeo & Juliet, but Gnomeo & Juliet was overestimated and brought down to #2, putting Hall Pass in first with $13.5 million in its opening weekend. It eventually grossed $45 million in North America and $38.2 million in other territories to a total of $83.2 million worldwide against a budget of $36 million.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 34% based on 172 reviews and an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Some filmgoers may be surprised by the Farrellys' defense of traditional domestic values in Hall Pass – unfortunately, they'll probably also be dismayed by the absence of laughs." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 45 out of 100 based on 36 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.
Critic Roger Ebert gave the film two and a half out of four stars saying, "A problem with Hall Pass, I think, is that both Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis are affable, and the movie wants us to like them. It is often more useful for a comedy to have characters whose embarrassment we enjoy." Richard Roeper gave the film a B−, stating that there are some points where it gets a little graphic, but it's all for a good laugh. The UltraCulture film blog said that its biggest problem wasn't its attitude to women (although that was brought into question), but its "disguising of an inherently conservative movie as some kind of anything-goes frat house sex romp." "[W]e’re supposed to cheer on both attitudes with equal vigour and that simply doesn’t work when the film flits between them with such frequency." British newspaper The Telegraph named Hall Pass one of the ten worst films of 2011, saying, "Hall Pass is outright hideous and also embarrassing, like a creepy uncle sporting a backwards baseball cap and cracking bad, lewd jokes for the under-thirties. At a funeral."