Film explores challenges faced by monogamous couples
On the surface, the movie Hall Pass challenges traditional notions of monogamy. But, in the end, the romantic comedy is an all-out endorsement of monogamous marriage…even as it explores “permission” to stray. After all, how romantic would it be if all parties involved concluded after a week “off” from marriage how liberating it is to periodically indulge in sexual fantasies and enjoy great sex with whomever you want…with no consequences whatsoever?
For many of us, Judeo-Christian cultural mores around marriage and monogamy are so ingrained that even tangentially violating them becomes an issue. Indeed, in my commentary on practicing monogamy, I describe how Hollywood-style ideals of romance imply that ⎼ when people are truly in love – they’ll have no desire to “stray,” and that it’s somehow wrong or incriminating to have feelings for anyone outside the primary relationship.
Hall Pass resonates well with viewers (especially if you’re a fan of Owen Wilson in a predictably awkward, yet sweet and sensitive role) because it uses humor to expose the reality of how time, parenthood and changing roles affect the sex lives of married couples.
What do you do when your wife starts treating you more like she’s your mother than your lover? Or when your husband becomes bored and restless, and his eye begins to roam? Or when you find yourself pretending to sleep, to avoid your partner’s all-too-predictable sexual advances?
While the light-hearted romp plays on the pervasive fantasy of having your way with someone else (without hurting your partner or sabotaging the bond of marriage), it ultimately defends traditional domestic values without offering any new insights into a very real challenge among many monogamous couples.
105 minutes, 2011
Photo: Warner Bros. “Make Your Own Hall Pass”