One of the hardest things in playing best friends in a movie is finding a way to create the shorthand that exists between people who have genuinely known each other for years or even decades And as an actor, you’re required to create that sort of chemistry out of thin air sometimes, during the time when you’re just getting to know this other person.
In the case of “Hall Pass,” much of the film hinges on the friendship between Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis), and I thought they did a great job of playing off each other. Wilson always seems like he shows up ready to play, but with Sudeikis, this could be a calling card for him as a leading man in movies.
I’ve always had a hard time trying to figure out what the niche would be for Sudeikis in film, since he’s a sort of average guy type, not as outrageous as someone like Will Forte or Bill Hader, his peers on SNL. Seeing him in this film, I get a real Phil Hartman quality, and like Phil, I think Sudeikis could really play to his average-guy looks and be charmingly subversive with the right material. He and Wilson together strike me as very real suburban dads, normal and average, with all their inner weirdo lurking just below the surface.
When we sat down to talk last week, I sensed that same chemistry between the two of them in the room, and it was an easy, casual conversation. It’s tough at press days when you’re promoting a comedy, because the pressure is on these performers to be “on” all day, and what I enjoyed was the relaxed sense of humor both of them seem to possess.
I’ll have more “Hall Pass” interviews for you this week, as well as a review of the film, but I’ll say at this point that I consider the movie a nice surprise, and a return to form for the Farrelly Brothers.
“Hall Pass” opens everywhere this Friday.