Shallow Hal (2001) starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Joe Viterelli, Rene Kirby, Bruce McGill, Anthony Robbins directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly Movie Review

Shallow Hal (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jack Black in Shallow Hal (2001)


As a boy Hal (Jack Black) had to deal with his father's death but before he died he made young Hal promise to date only fit women, those with ridonculously hot bodies. If Hal had grown up to become a handsome devil maybe he could have got hot women but Hal not only grew up ordinary looking but also believing his own hype as to how much of a hit he is with women. But when Hal gets stuck in a lift with a self help guru he hypnotizes him to stop caring about how a woman looks on the outside and look at what sort of person she is on the inside. It leads Hal to fall for Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) as he sees her as a babe as via hypnosis he can only see her inner beauty and is oblivious to the problem that she weighs over 300 pounds. It is why Hal is shocked when Rosemary agrees to go out with him whilst Rosemary is shocked that anyone asked her out.

Shallow by name, shallow by nature that is my opinion of the Farrelly brother's "Shallow Hal". Now that is sure to upset those who not only think the Farrelly brothers are the best thing since slice bread but also love "Shallow Hal" but here is the thing. So here is a comedy which tries to have meaning by teaching us all about how what a person is like on the inside is more important than how they look and that is great. But that is all there really is too it and it makes it incredibly shallow.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal (2001)

Okay so that means we get a lot of humour from Hal being a man lost in his own fantasy when during the opening scenes he tries to dance with hot babes. And then we get one fat joke after another as under hypnosis Hal doesn't see he is dating a large woman and says some inappropriate things whilst his best friend who can see that Rosemary is fat also makes inappropriate comments. But sadly none of this is that much fun and it also make it incredibly shallow to the point it occasionally feels like it has just one joke and that is poking fun at those who are over weight.

And to add to its issues "Shallow Hal" stars Jack Black an actor who when working with another strong actor is okay but when in a scene on his own goes continually over the top to fill it. Maybe it doesn't annoy you but it annoys me and is why "Shallow Hal" frequently ends up hit and miss as Jack Black's solo scenes end up over the top. But then the scenes he shares with Gwyneth Paltrow are sometimes sweet and Paltrow does nice girl quite nicely.

And that brings me to the movies saving grace as whilst it isn't funny enough, Jack Black is too annoying and the jokes are often misfiring it is at times sweet with Paltrow doing a fantastic job of taming Black in the scenes they share together.

What this all boils down to is that "Shallow Hal" is at times sweet but it is despite preaching a message that real beauty is more than skin deep is in fact quite shallow.