Movies & Monogamy: “Hall Pass”

"Good for One Week off Marriage"

I was at a barbecue this past weekend, and the movie “Hall Pass” came up. I seemed to be the only one who hadn’t seen it, so I asked if I had the plot right:

“Group of married men complain about monogamy. Wives give them a week pass to sleep with others. Comedic comedy ensues.”

The group made me guess how it ended. I went on an overly passionate trade on monogamous-gendered-behavior-expectation-in-Hollywood-movies.

“Well, assuming it’s a mainstream movie upholding the status quo, I’m going to guess the guys try hard to get laid, with only a side bro getting hilarious penis-in-prostitute action. Meanwhile the women hit a homerun, and in the end the men realize how much they love and miss their spouses, while the wives do too, but don’t tell their men they got any action.”

I figure it would be weird if comedic male, married, main characters actually had extra-marital sex. It would be too close to a painful reality. Add that men are made out to be guffawing buffoons in sitcom-type male/female pairings with the level-headed wife calling the shots and wallah, my conclusion.

Now, I am metaphorically talking out my ass. I have no idea how the movie ends. I would like to think that all pass-holders experience a consensual extra-marital encounter. I would love if they all learn something about themselves and their needs. And I would be ecstatic if then they all came back to their partners with renewed senses of adventure for bedroom exploration, open communication and possibly a more relaxed sense of what monogamy can encompass.

Dear Hollywood, am I wrong? Super wrong? Super-dee-duper wrong? That would be rad if I were.

Posted in sex

3 thoughts on “Movies & Monogamy: “Hall Pass”

  1. So you “want” everyone to have an extramarital affair? Even those who enjoy and appreciate monogamy and would rather now? I’m a little confused by your last paragraph…

    1. Oh, not at all. I believe every person has different needs for a satisfying relationship.

      What I was saying is in a mainstream Hollywood movie, if 2 people open up their relationship, I figure the most predictable ending is for the characters to come back together relieved to be in a monogamous relationship again. That or breakup.

      So, it’s really just me using everything I’ve got to predict the ending using my knowledge of society’s attitudes toward relationships and media that rarely challenges those assumptions.

      1. Media that challenges assumptions is “art” and therefore not commercially viable. Hollywood is a group of commercial entities, so they reflect the culture, they don’t trail-blaze. Occasionally, Hollywood manages to push at boundaries just enough to be intriguing and not threatening, which results in the kind of “buzz” and controversy that causes increased ticket sales, but it’s a hard and financially vulnerable tightrope to walk, which means it succeeds even more rarely than it is attempted. Romantic comedies almost never try to walk it.
        What I mean is that I don’t *blame* Hollywood studios for their perpetuation of stereotypes and cultural attitudes, it’s just what they are. It’s like blaming NASCAR for wasting fuel by driving around in circles for almost no reason. Sure, it’s true, but it’s not going to be changed by anything less than a complete change in cultural norms and societal expectations. Hopefully, it’s coming, but we’re not quite there yet. (that isn’t to say that I think it’s not worth fighting for change — otherwise change is never going to happen — but that some perspective needs to be kept when making passionate tirades)

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