Shallow Hal  Cover My mate Arnold is one of the most vainest people I have ever met in my life. He would pamper himself both day and night, as if he was some sort of pedigree poodle. Heck, once, I even saw Arnold blow-dry his own butt cheeks with a Dolce & Gabbana fan. Yeah. No word of a lie. Just ask the Directors: The Farrelly Brothers; and the Actors: Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow. Especially in 2001, and for 113 minutes.

Shallow HalSlapstick Comedies)

Now I know that this might sound strange, but Hal Larson (Jack Black) grows up to become one shallow person, because of his Father's drug-addled words just before he kicks the bucket, THUNK!

Well, not only does Hal holds himself in very high esteem, and looks upon woman-kind for their more cosmetic attributes. On top of that, both Hal and his pal, Mauricio Wilson (Jason Alexander), scour the nightclubs looking for the perfect dame.

However, due to a chance encounter Hal has with the psychologist, Tony Robbins (who plays himself), Tony susses out this fact about Hal pretty quickly, and manages to desensitize his perception, making him see the ‘inner beauty’ of whomever he meets.

Granted, Hal doesn't really understand what Tony has truly done to him at first.  He's just amazed that he is able to meet pretty young girls who seem to like him for what he is.

Yeah. I'm not messing about. Take Rosemary Shanahan (Gwyneth Paltrow) for example.
  • He takes her out to lunch -- in which she strangely breaks a chair she sits upon.
  • He gets her phone number -- even though Rosemary is surprised that Hal wants it in the first place.
  • He accompanies her to her place of work -- a hospital unit for sick children.
  • And he shows her off to his pal, Mauricio, too -- who sees Rosemary for who she really is.

Oh! Wait a minute! I might have forgotten to mention something. In real life Rosemary is fat. Real fat. So fat in fact, that her Father, Hal's boss, suspects that Hal is dating her, so he can work his way up the corporate ladder.

But then again that is most probably why what next transpires all kicks off when a fight back is hard to come by. As men and women part ways - vision starts to haze - a revelation is finally revealed - and wait up, Hal, a romance can come out of left field. 

Now I know that I haven't mentioned this before, but did you know I have very funny vision? No. Wait up. Let me rephrase that. My eyes don't tell jokes every second Tuesday of the month, rather, my eyes are of the weak variety, and have an almost ‘what the f*ck am I looking at?’ veal to them.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black in Shallow HalAlright. I know that I'm being somewhat obtuse with my ophthalmic condition. So let me just say that due to this ‘hazy detriment’, my perception is somewhat eschewed to the norm.

Surreal even.

Listen, I'm sure you're wondering to yourself why I have revealed this fact to you, when I meant to be reviewing ‘Shallow Hal’ instead. Well, without beating about the bush, just like Hal, I understand what it's like to have a strained view on life.

Although, admittedly, with him it's cosmetic, whilst with me it's physical.

Honest to God. I have a tattoo on my shoulder that reads ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see’. And in a roundabout way, this motto basically sums up the message behind this movie to a tea.

Gwyneth Paltrow In Shallow Hal

Personally speaking, this is precisely why this comedy has captured my heart. This message. Because it is something that needs to be said from time to time, and addressed in a way so people can really understand what it honestly means. Furthermore, there is a great scene in this film -- the one where it is revealed to Hal why the children are in hospital -- that, to me, hits this point home so much, that it brought a tear to my hazy eye.

OK. I think it best if I get off of my soapbox now. Or else I will start singing ‘Give Peace A Chance’ by the Beatles. I just feel that I need to say something about this film which I have not said yet.


Jack Black in Shallow Hal

Ha! I'm just kidding! (Must be my ‘funny vision’?). Seriously though, ‘Shallow Hal'  is a really-really great film. In many ways it reminds me of a movie of old, one that entertains you with a pithy and poignant tale of love, light, happiness, and humour, which I am more than happy to sit through again and again and again.

Gwyneth Paltrow
Honestly, all the actors are great, the direction is spot on, the story is relevant, and the jokes (although crass at times) have a charm about them that they're ‘of their time’.

Heck, just like another comedy directed by the Farrelly Brothers, ‘There Is Something About Mary’, this film has a captivating manner about it, and is able to draw you into the story one step at a time.

On occasion, I started asking myself questions like ‘What does Rosemary look like?’ – ‘What is Hal going to do when he sees Rosemary for real?’ – and other such querying quotes of this ilk. Goddamn it, I even said the same things when I saw the film on my second viewing. (Must be my funny vision playing tricks with me again?).

Overall, ‘Shallow Hal’ is just a masterful piece of moviemaking. It tells a poignant tale presented by a cast that makes the material special and charming to behold.

Great film. Valid message. Funny vision.


SHALLOW HAL SHALLOW HAL Reviewed by David Andrews on November 29, 2011 Rating: 5
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