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Film Only review:
Hal Larson (Jack Black) is as shallow as it comes to women as you expect really. Hitting on women usually in nightclubs with his mate Mauricio (Jason Alexander), the pudgy mates judge every book by its cover and nothing more and every little fault they see counts. In Hals case it stems from something his Reverend Dad told him about not settling for anything less than perfect woman wise just before he died. What Hal doesn't understand was that his Dad was heavily sedated at the time of that being said.
Chasing women totally out of his league Hal meets the huge and rather dashing American life coach Tony Robbins and explains his views on the opposite sex whilst they are stuck in a lift together and basically he hypnotizes him to thinking all women are beautiful and he can meet and fall in love with ease. What Hal doesn't realise is that the reason he is now able to get the girls is because the ones he thinks are thin and beautiful and just his type are actually rather ugly or obese!
Hal meets women that his mate Maurico find repulsive but Hal really does believe that they are stunners and he can't believe his luck!
He then meets beautiful Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), blonde, thin and with an amazing personality. She volunteers in a hospital and works with children and Hal finds himself totally falling wither her and her him.
However in reality Rosemary is not thin or particularly visually beautiful but an obese girl and really rather large indeed. Hal doesn't even realise when everything she sits on breaks or she jumps in a pool and the water jumps out all he sees is that she is a gorgeous and witty girl, much to Mauricios disgust.
Her Dad is Hals boss and people start to believe that maybe hes only interested in her to further his career. But what happens when Mauricio realise there has been a 'spell' cast on his mate he tracks down the coach and finds out how to revoke it? Will Hal thank him for that?!
What happens though when Hal sees Rosemary as she really is and will the love they share be the most important thing and has Hal learnt anything at all, particularly when she signs up to go do Charity work abroad and has a leaving party!
This is actually one of my all time favourite rom coms. Funny, witty and at times a little sad this is simply a brilliant story with a moral to the story included within it. The acting is superb, the music, indie style and fits in with the movie well and everybody is rather human in it so you can feel and understand the characters you are watching.
The ending is predictable however its a jolly good watch, with love rule the day or vanity?!
Important Cast List:
Jack Black as Hal Larson
Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosemary Shanahan
Jason Alexander as Mauricio Wilson
Joe Viterelli as Steve Shanahan
Jill Christine Fitzgerald as Mrs. Shanahan
Tony Robbins as Himself
Anyone who hasn't heard of Shallow Hal, are likely to be people of the earth foundation, living amongst trees and squirrels or Buddhist priests, who don't watch television or films out of principle, yet it is such a renowned comedy, it is almost what you would call scandalously humorous despite its unorthodox theme, the PC minority would consider this sizeist because it features an obese Paltrow who has been computer generated to double-triple her average size.
The intention of the Farrelly brothers was to illuminate the whole issue of discrimination against physical disfigurement, that obesity is also treated as something to feel ashamed, in the same way that someone with cerebral pausey, Down Syndrome or mental illness, so what they do, is turn this on its twisted head by demonstrating that these things are immaterial compared with love, understanding and compassion that are really at the core of everyone's genetic make-up, often masked by contrived beliefs. Although their films in the past have been challenging of political correctness as comedies, they haven't quite portrayed the beautifulness that lurks behind misfortunate characters, so Shallow Hal is a triumph as a preaching-satire that leaves a lasting impression.
Hal, before the shallow:
From the age of Ten Hal (Jack Black) visits his dying reverend father in hospital, who has been dosed high on Morphine, begins rambling subconscious desires that have possibly been repressed? - He makes a confession to his son about being dissatisfied in his marriage to Hal's mother and begins describing to him, the ideal woman, either that or a car that he confuses as having breasts? - I'm a little lost about what is actually happening in the beginning scene, so read between the lines. Anyway, the result is that Hal is given the message that physical perfection is the goal, whether he himself understood what his father meant or not.
Luckless Hal has now been left with a legacy that makes him delusional about his own looks, wants and needs from a girlfriend, he is attracted to women equally ankle-deep as himself, yet cannot understand why none of them want to go steady with him or do more than tango on the dance floor. He stands out as a loud, neurotically blissful one-man band who is friends with a like-minded bachelor Mauricio (Jason Alexander) equally deluded that he can draw in tall modelesque women, who are repulsed by his overly confident ego and desperate pulling techniques that are as desirable as his insane toupee.
Both Hal and Mauricio share the same torment, that they are both sought after men (in their own minds) but frustrated that women aren't throwing their hearts and knickers at them! - Something is imminently wrong and yet neither of them can work out what and why.
The knee-high truth:
Hal's superficial beliefs get a bit of a breezing when an accidental meeting with Tony Robbins, prizes open a brain cell, he never knew he had. The two get trapped inside an office elevator when new-age prophet Robbins, gets into a conversation with Hal, who is reeling off injured feelings as to why he can't pull. Robbins has a profound influence on Hal and gets him to see the light, that he isn't looking at a woman from the inside-out but the reverse, minus personality. Then, something bizarre takes place and Hal's perceptions have been altered by the white doctor's wizardry, he is high on another plane, viewing life from all equal angles.
Along the path of attraction, Hal is met by a few women that turn his head, who are slightly different from the regular super-chick women he would normally chase after, though because he is tranced, cannot see their truth that they are heavily obese or plagued by other abnormalities. His mind gets set on one girl in particular he fancies, who is everything a shallow person isn't, kind; warm and amusing Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) a volunteer for a hospital with a sick mother she spends most of her time looking after. As they get more friendlier, Hal sets about giving her endless compliments about her appearance, she cannot understand why he doesn't see that she is 50 stones in weight or there about when all he can see is Claudia Schiffer naked.
Hal introduces her to his horrified friends who think that he has turned delirious, because everyone but Hal can only see a morbidly obese woman, the Farrelly brothers have done some incidental exaggeration of her size that could easily be seen as mocking of Rosemary's predicament if it were not for the fact that Jack's character falls neck-deep in love with her. We roar at the inequality between Hal's perception of Rosemary and that of her naivety of his interest, you can't watch this film and eat at the same time in case you choke!
In case you haven't yet seen the film, I will conclude it by just letting you know that there is a very happy ending to it with a very important message throughout.
If a bulldozer can't flatten the bones of discrimination, then the Farrelly brothers can. Moral calculation often needs a shove in the right direction and Hal is the type of pitiable bachelor that women run far, even the most gentle or glamorous wouldn't touch a man with a flawed ego and sense of superiority. Jack Black was ideal for this role, simply because of his assertive and tenacious hilarity that would undoubtedly boost his frat-pack credibility in the process. Gwyneth Paltrow slid outside of a very safe comfort zone playing the role of Rosemary, she must have initially felt some fear of disrepute for playing the role of a very different character, the rest of Hollywood would jeer at her in their private circles.
Much of the filming techniques in Shallow Hall perplexed me and because the shooting of Paltrow as the real, corpulent Rosemary was snap quick as well as unsteady that further distorted my vision of her and the way the film flicked like a comic from one scenario to another, though without losing place within the story itself that, as a 113 minute film, demanded a rapid motion-picture photography approach with speedy special effects.
Rated PG-13 for language and sexual content, it is appropriate material that isn't damagingly offensive nor is it below the knuckle. Few people could take this film seriously as a jibe at fat people, that in my opinion, is the exact opposite and is all about challenging prejudices in a unique satirical way which is a rareity initself.
Shallow Hal, a comedy released in 2002, starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Plot: Hal (Jack Back) is a normal kind of guy who took on board his dying fathers advice, to only date ladies of physical perfection. However, he struggles to date women as hes very shallow (hence the title of the film) until one day he becomes stuck in a lift with a self-help guru. The guru hypnotises him into seeing only inner beauty of women, not the physical beauty. With a new found confidence to talk to women, his luck seems to change when he meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow). There are many twists and turns to the story, but i dont want to say any more as it will spoil the plot.
Opinion: To be honest, the film itself could be cut shorter. The plot isnt over complicated, and it becomes obvious to the audience what happens next. With having said that, the film is entertaining and has alot of comedy elements from beginning to end. I recently saw this film been sold for £3 in HMV so theres no excuses for anybody to not have this DVD.
My wifes had this on DVD for a while, and to be honest I've never really been drawn to the title, thinking it sounds a bit stupid, but eventually we got round to waching this last week, and to my surprise I actually really liked it.
The basic plot of the film is that Hal, played by Jack Black, is a shallow bloke that only juges women on how they look, until one day he meets a bloke who makes him see the inner beauty of women ad what they have to offer, by hypnotising him. This basically means when he meets a really attractive woman(Gwynt Paltrow) and falls in love with her, thats all he can see, a really attractive woman, when in reality sh is a 300lb fat woman!
This is quite a heart warming folm of love, and how theres more to attraction than just looks. Ironically in the film, the women which he would have normally been replused by, he now sees as really sexy looking women, unfortunatly no one else can see what he sees, so although he sees his girlfriend a s a sexy size 8 blonde, everyone else sees the real her.
This film has some genuinly funny moments, and it keep you gripped, whilst being a light hearted watch.
Eventually thoguh, he sees the truth after his friend removes the hypnotists spell, causing him to see how his girlfriend really looks? But will he stay with her?
I wont spoil the plot complelty, but I woiuld definately say worth watching!
I recently watched 'Shallow Hal' on DVD again and really enjoyed it and for me is one of Jack Black's best movies to date. Not all his films are great but this one is an exception. He is normally good value anyway with is unique acting style. This film is really a sweet romantic comedy that does have some pretty funny moments.
Jack Black plays the main character Hal. He is a normal average guy who is very superficial however. He wants a woman and a relationship but he can't see beyond their physical appearance to their personality or anything else about them. Therefore very few women measure up to his high standards. They are either too fat, too tall, too small but none of them are perfect.
On one ordinary day in Hal's life he meets motivational speaker Tony Robbins who plays himself. He hears everything he says about his ideal woman and upon hearing this vision decides he needs he needs to teach him about inner beauty instead of just the superficial appearance he is so obsessed with. So Hal is hypnotised to change his attitudes towards women. From now on, with hilarious consquences he starts seeing women's inner beauty and who they really are rather than just their looks. Suddenly Hal is seeing the world very differently indeed.
Once he meets Rosemary played by Gwyneth Paltrow he falls for her immediately. She is funny, compassionate and appears gorgeous to him, but is in fact, and to everyone else including his best mate, weighing over 300 pounds. His best friend Mauricio played by Jason Alexander is increasingly concerned by his strange new taste in women even though Hal believes she is beautiful.
The story is set up now for the great comedy and funny scenes in this movie. There is also a hidden depth to this movie apart from the laughs. Once Hal meets Rosemary we start to see that he is not really such a bad guy. He is bit clueless in life but his perspective starts to change. He is initially attracted to her apparent looks, but he soon realises there is more than just this and she has other great qualities as well. He is touched by how kind she is and grows to love her more and more. He can also see attractive women who are nasty and spiteful as ugly so it's in reverse for him. There is a point that you should never judge a book by it's cover.
I live this movie as it's not over the top comedy like a few of the Farrelly Brother's films. Some of the jokes related to people being fat can get a bit tedious at times but there are enough funny moments to outweigh these really. The whole film is about looking beneath the surface of people and beneath the outside layers and it does this well. The whole cast are amusing and Hal's friend in particular is responsible for alot of the humour in the film combined with Jack Black himself. There are also some very touching scenes combined into this movie.
If you're in the mood for something funny and a bit deeper then this is a good movie to watch.
Hal: Jack Black
Rosemary: Gwyneth Paltrow
Hal has only ever dated 'beautiful' women, even if their personality sucks. He judges everyone he meets on appearance, and even tries to avoid one woman just because one of her toes is bigger than her big toe!
However, this all changes when Hal has a sudden meeting with a hypnotist, who changes the way he views life. Instead of seeing the outer beauty, Hal starts to see the inner beauty - This leads to him falling in love with his boss's daughter!
The story follows Hal as he tries to win Rosemary's heart, even with discouraging comments from people such as his friend, and her dad. It's a classic romantic-comedy, but it also tackles a moral issue which we can all relate to.
In my opinion, this film can't really get much better. It tackles a huge issue in our modern society, and it tackles it well. The fact that not many people look beyond the outer shell of a person is astounding in this day and age, and it's becoming a growing concern to me just how shallow people are beginning to get.
The acting is great, especially on Paltrow's part. She really plays the role perfectly; she relays all the emotions to the audience, for example, when she and Hal are in a restaurant and the chair breaks, the look on her face is of annoyance that it 'always happens' but yet you can see in her eyes that she is hurt and frustrated. On the outside she looks confident in her skin, yet you can see that she has insecurities as to what people think of her. Ironically, Jack Black is not the perfect person, so the fact that he's so picky with his women is hilarious. You can see the genuine love he has for Paltrow; but as always, he spoils it when he sees her for what she really is. He plays these transformations excellently, and I for one enjoy watching them both in this film.
The only disadvantage to this film is that it seems a little too far-fetched. The hypnotist would not have been able to alter Hal's vision, but this would have to be an element of 'suspension of disbelief'.
In this film, there is a moral at the end, which I like, and that is "Don't judge a book by its cover". Hal found his true love in Rosemary, someone who didn't look perfect by his standards, but had the most amazing personality, and who clicked instantly with him. In my opinion, people nowadays could learn a thing or two from this film, and then it could stop the prejudice which happens in our modern society.
******************* Contains Movie Spoilers******************
This romantic comedy is about a man named Hal, a man that only sees the outer beauty of an individual. This is also his major downfall as apart
from that he is a good guy. He doesn't spend any time, or in fact waste
any time according to him to get to know the women he meets as the majority are unattractive. He is only interested in getting to know the beauties, hence the name of the movie because he is a deep as a puddle.
Instead he automatically focuses on their flaws and because of this dismisses meeting any potential great partners or even widening his group of friends, which really consists of only one person. This is also his best friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander), who also shares his same view of women but for other reasons.
One day he gets trapped and in an elevator with a well known hypnotist
that for the better manages to change his perception of people. He sees their inner beauty, so good, honest, caring people are beautiful on the outside, and the vice versa as ugly. This is where the film gets interesting, and has many funny scenes.
Jack Black plays Hal, and Gwyneth Paltrow plays Rosemary the woman of his dreams. The other big star in the movie is Joe Viterelli.
- My thoughts -
I won't spoil the plot anymore. I am a big of Jack Black after first seeing him in "The School Of Rock". He brought a lot to the film and made it in my eyes a great light hearted comedy. There are scenes that really open you up such as when he goes to see the sick children at the hospital, and the second time he meets Rosemary's previous boyfriend. It really opens your eyes on how you shouldn't judge a person from their appearance but instead on how they act and treat others.
You'll be surprised how much a person can change and look different with a few extra pounds added to then. Having a hot, gorgeous, slim Gwyneth Paltrow turn into her 300lb+ version of herself probably wasn't as easy task but they pulled it off well. You would never have guessed it was her of that it wasn't a real person wearing a body suit.
On top of that there are just so many funny and witty lines throughout the movie. Most came from Jason Alexander who was searching for the perfect woman. It is shocking that he turns down this absolutely gorgeous woman just because one of her toes is longer than the others. Ugh!! That man needs a slap, she was stunning!!! Hah. The supporting cast that are mainly in Black's scenes do a good job. Even though the characters are played by different actors throughout the film it all flows smoothly.
One of my favourite scenes was when he shared a taxi with an absolute beauty. Wow.. did he think his luck was in, a gorgeous blonde going to visit her sick grandmother. And, then later on in the movie he meets the "real" her, and thinking his friend had set him up. The look on his face. But by then he had changed within and treated her like a real person. Unlike before when he would have been rude and just brushed her off. Great stuff.
All in all this remains one of my favourite comedies. The story and acting is solid throughout make it an absolute delight to watch.
This is a film that I would recommend to everybody. But, if you can watch it with your partner and show them that you are a real softie.
4 out of 5
When this first came out at the cinema I remember being desperate to see it but never getting round to it-something that is all too common in my life! Anyway I finally got round to watching it a few years ago on TV and then decided to buy the DVD a few months ago. I have just watched it again so decided to review it. This is a film only review.
The film begins by introducing us to a family unit which consists of a mother, father and son (Hal), sadly the father is very ill and we witness his last breaths and his last words he exchanges with his son. He tells Hal never to settle for second best or average and to always aim high in relationships or he will never be truely happy. Fast forward 15 years and we meet the Hal of today. He is constantly out partying and sleeping with various woman who to be honest, are way out of his league! He meets a self help guru in a lift who he talks to about women and this man changes his life forever, he changes Hal so he can only see inner beauty.
He starts to notice that he is getting a lot more luck with the ladies-especially those who he believes to be extremely good looking. However, he cant seem to understand why his best friend doesn't want to join him and instead refers to particular women as 'hippos' and 'giraffes'.
One day, whilst out driving Hal bumps into Rosemary, someone he see's as beautiful. He is besotted with her from day one and he is keen to make something more of their friendship. She appears to have a number of self-esteem issues and struggles with it when he tells her she is beautiful. He introduces her to his friends and doesn't understand when they are confused by his choice. His and Rosemary's relationship gets stronger and stronger and they are very happy, but Hal ever see Rosemary how she really is?
The film was released in 2001 and is rated a 12 due to minor language and occasional references to sex. The run time of the film is 108 minutes. The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow (Rosemary), Jack Black (Hal), Jason Alexander, Joe Viterelli and Susan Ward. It was directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly. The DVD is currently available from Amazon for £3.98.
I really enjoyed this film as there were a number of fantastic comedy moments and you were never bored. Jack Black and Gwenyth Paltrow worked tremendously together and there was really chemisty between the two. The role of Rosemary I believe was a great character and she was played very well. The confusion from her when her and Hal first met was hilarious and really fun to watch. As always, Jack Black played a humorous and believable character who came out with a number of classic one liners. Although Hal is designed to be shallow, you cant help but love him as he is so funny and loveable.
I think that the plot of the film was really good and very well thought out. Although the plot wasn't particularly fast moving it moved well and you were never wishing the film to hurry along. There was a lot to keep you focussed and although there was not a number of sub-plots it kept the viewer occupied well. The ending I believed to be lovely and brings a tear to my eye!
I would recommend this film to anybody who enjoys either chick flicks or comedies. Both men and woman can enjoy this film as there is somehting for everyone in it.
This film works as a predictable comedy with the usual Farrelly Brother elements of shocking insults and visual gags, there are a decent variety of characters with Black, Paltrow and Alexander all playing there roles well, its forgettable bubble gum film making and lacks anything to really grab you.
Hal (Jack Black) is just your ordinary run of the mill guy, his father gives him some life lessons on his death bed and advises him only to pursue beautiful young women and ignore others. Hal follows this dictate and also listens to his best mate who agrees that only beautiful women count.
Hal lives his life on this trajectory until one day he meets a self-help guru who hypnotises him into seeing the inner beauty of women.
Hal's luck with the ladies finally changes when he meets the gorgeous Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), although we are left to wonder is she the girl he see's or is she a larger person whom Hal see's the inner beauty of.
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Rosemary
Jack Black ... Hal
Jason Alexander ... Mauricio
Joe Viterelli ... Steve Shanahan
Rene Kirby ... Walt
Bruce McGill ... Reverend Larson
Anthony Robbins ... Tony Robbins (as Tony Robbins)
Susan Ward ... Jill
Zen Gesner ... Ralph
Brooke Burns ... Katrina
Rob Moran ... Second Tiffany
Joshua 'Li'iBoy' Shintani ... Li'iBoy
Kyle Gass ... Artie
Laura Kightlinger ... Jen
Nan Martin ... Nurse Tanya Peeler
Well it's a Farrelly Brother film so from the start I should warn you that as this film is about a slightly overweight guy who won't date any woman who isn't perfect, there are loads of fat jokes, the film is based around them, and whilst it has the sentimental streak the pair enjoy in their films, it lacks something as a comedy, it is a fairly simple premise, Black is good fun as the lead, and Paltrow really excels as the woman Black can see and the real Rosemary who is slightly larger, she plays her part with an essence of ditziness and follows the Farrelly Brother ethic of how a lead woman should play it.
I liked the premise that the camera sees the Rosemary that Hal sees, I did think that the film lacked any real edge and tried too hard to be a comedy or a romance and really missed the boat with both. Don't get me wrong there are laugh out loud moments and Hal's journey to an increased level of maturity is good, but its mawkish and doesn't work for me.
Jason Alexander is funny as always as the misogynistic best friend, the film travels along without really doing much and is a gentle and fun film without being anything more. It already seems a bit dated and is the kind of film you'd expect to see on a Sunday lunchtime. Overall the acting is fine, the script is fine, the music is a mix of grungy pop and sophomore rock and the leads seem to be having fun. Its not taxing or memorable at all and not something to go out of your way to watch.
Purchased instore in Asda for £3.99 this includes 11 deleted scenes, Directors commentary a behind the scenes mini-documentary, 3 featurettes a music video and a trailer.
The Farrelly Brothers rose to fame with some rather classic gross out comedies such as Dumb and Dumber and Me, Myself and Irene. They've also had some lesser efforts like The Heartbreak Kid, and Shallow Hal. That's not to demonise this film too much, because it is fun, just not as off the wall hilarious as the aforementioned films. It's somewhat sweeter and less crass than their funnier films, but does sacrifice some of the comedy element as a result, and fans of their work may be left waiting for the next sight gag or riff of toilet humour.
Hal (Jack Black) is a very shallow young man who has set for himself inexorably high standards. However, during a chance encounter with motivational speaker Tony Robins in a lift, he is placed under a spell whereby he views those with deep "inner beauty" as physically beautiful - the fat become thin, model-esque people, and soon enough, he falls for the seemingly beautiful Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow). However, there's more to her than meets the eye - Hal is totally baffled at her low self esteem and insistence that she's not beautiful, but of course, her beauty is just another affectation of Hal's spell. His own insistence that she's gorgeous leaves his best friend baffled most of all, played by Seinfeld star Jason Alexander.
Although not as funny as most of the Farrelly Brothers' other films, Shallow Hal is sweet and well intended, and overcomes its predictability with some clever gags and solid performances. It's not a perfect film, but it's a fairly good one, and certainly watchable.
Shallow Hal sees Hal (Jack Black) as a man who along with his equally shallow friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander) is always interested in getting together with beautiful women but unfortunately for them the women find them obnoxious and avoid them like the plague. Hal knows he is shallow and wants to see past outward beauty to see the best of all the women he meets and when a twist of fate finds Hal in the same lift as American life coach Tony Robbins who sees Hal's situation and so hypnotises Hal to see past the outward looks to the inner beauty.
Following Hal's hypnosis by Tony Robbins he meets his boss's daughter Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) who he sees as a slender and beautiful young lady but who is actually morbidly obese. When Hal's friend Mauricio becomes concerned about his friends new relationship focus he manages to break Hal's hypnotic state but can Hal see past his old hang-ups without being hypnotised?
This film was one that I had heard an absolute load from people about and so went into with huge expectations and on first viewing I found awful but when it was recently on tv I decided to give it another chance and was pleasantly suprised. The on screen chemistry between Paltrow and Black is very impressive especially when you consider that this is a romantic comedy that focuses more so on the comedy side. The film manages to pack in the laughs and they thankfully are not cheap nothing laughs but well thought out. The best thing about the film for me is that you see a lot of yourself in Black in that we are all guilty of judging by outward appearance at one time or another and this just shows how sad life would be if we had this attitude all of the time.
Shallow Hal really is a fantastic comedy that I really did love any minute of and I would really recommend it. The film is a comedy and tells the story of the most hilarious love story you have ever heard. I thought that the humour was universal in appeal making it suitable for a gerat piece of home entertainment. The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black who are absolutely brilliant amongst some other very good actors also. I found the film to be very entertaining throughout and full of some very comic moments that make this a film that is well worth seeing.
Shallow Hal is a film about a man named Hal who will only date bery beautiful women, he gets this advice from his father who is dying of age. However, ironically one day he becomes hypnotized by Tony Robbins so tha instead of only appreciating the physical beauty it now only recognises the inner beauty of a women! After this occasion Hal meets Rosemary who is a fat, unattractive lady but has a beautiful personality and the adventure continues.
I really was a big fan of the story line and I thought it was an excellent one for a comedy. The film is available from Amazon for just under £4 which is a great deal for a film that will provide so much home entertainment. I really did think that the actign throughout the film was superb and I generally thought that it was well produced, however the soundtrack may have been improved. I hope this was useful and thank you very much for reading this.
Shallow Hal is a Farrelly Brothers film that was first released back in 2001. Farrelly Bothers are synonymous with making comedy films that are shall we say, slightly politically incorrect. This film is no exception since the majority of its laughs seem to come from making fun of people that are overweight. However if you analyse this film more closely you actually realise that it is also poking fun at people that are shallow enough to judge a person simply by the size of them.
Hal Larsen is just about the most shallow person that you are ever likely to meet. He is only attracted to slim, beautiful looking women and every woman that he takes a fancy too he tries to chat up in a rather gross, vulgar kind of way. In his defence this is not entirely Hal's fault as he is simply carrying out his father's last wishes, who told him when he was nine years old that when it comes to women that he should set his standards high.
In a society as superficial as the one that Hal lives in finding his perfect woman is made all that much more difficult because Hal himself is rather plain looking, but encouraged by his best friend, Mauricio he continues to lurch after every attractive girl that brushes by.
Things take a twist when Hal has a chance meeting with a bizarre hypnotist whist trapped in an elevator. The hypnotist witnesses Hal's gross behaviour towards women and without Hal's knowledge he puts him under a trance with the words that "from now on he will only see the inner beauty of any woman that he meets."
Hal steps out of the elevator and immediately comes face to face with a rather plain looking woman, but Hal can only see her inner beauty and engages in a conversation that ends with them swapping telephone numbers. Unable to believe his look Hal is ecstatic, until Hal introduces this girl to Mauricio who cannot believe what he is seeing. Confused by the reaction Hal doesn't see this girl again but it is not long before Hal meets another woman. This time it is a rather plump figure called Rosemary Shalahan, but seeing her as a slim, attractive woman he instantly falls for her.
It quickly transpires that Rosemary's father is Hal's Boss which adds an interesting twist and there are some excellent comedy moments. One of my favourite being the first time that Hal meets Rosemary's parents. Rosemary's mother is also a large lady but Hal manages to casually say to her: "I can certainly see where you daughter gets her figure from."
This is a film that is full of laughs but it is actually a lot deeper film that I was actually expecting. In true comedy style Hal's friend, Mauricio, horrified by what has happened to Hal tracks down the hypnotist and convinces him to reverse the trance which he does with the words: "Hal, go and find yerself a gal."
Without giving too much away about what happens next the transformation that Hal has undergone now that he can see people for what they really are is an interesting one and makes for a very interesting and enjoyable film.
The character of Rosemary is played brilliantly by Gwyneth Paltrow, who wears a rather hilarious fat body suit for the scenes that she plays when she is not being viewed through the eyes of Hal. It must have been quite difficult for an actress like Gwyneth Paltrow to play a larger lady but she pulls it off brilliantly.
Hal is played by Jack Black, who I believe appears here in his first leading role. Jack plays Hal brilliantly and brings a certain charm and likeability to Hal, even when he is acting his most vulgar.
Overall a very enjoyable film which I recently enjoyed watching again for the first time since I originally saw it many years ago.
This film has a 12 Certificate due to its language and some of its smuttiness. However I recently watched it on DVD (borrowed from a friend) which has a 15 Certificate since it contains several deleted scenes as extras which were removed from the final cut of the film version to deliberately make it accessible to a wider audience.
Running time is 108 minutes.
Directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
As well as containing eleven deleted scenes which I enjoyed thoroughly the DVD also offers subtitles in twelve different languages (Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, and Turkish).
It is also possible to watch the entire film with commentary from the directors, something that I tried but found very annoying and would not recommend. There is also a short mini documentary about the making of the film.
This film ia quite funny and a lot of the gags are based on the fact that in the eyes of Jack Blacks character Hal Larson he is dating a physically beautiful woman in the form of Gwyneth Paltrow (Rosemary Shanahan) when in fact what the camera sees is Paltrow in a fat suit. The storylne is rather far fetched by Hal is a man who follows his dying fathers advice to only date attractive stunners and as such he is a very superficial person.
To be honest there are a lot of people like that who only focus on looks and ignore what a person is really like, well he was one of those people as is his best mate as well. However one day he is hypnotised by a faith healer to only see the inner beauty in women hence the reason he is dating an obese woman much to the shock and dismay of his friends. The challenge will come if the hypnotic state he is under ever comes to an end.
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Rosemary Shanahan
Jack Black ... Hal Larson
Jason Alexander ... Mauricio Wilson
Joe Viterelli ... Steve Shanahan
Rene Kirby ... Walt
Bruce McGill ... Reverend Larson
Anthony Robbins ... Himself (as Tony Robbins)
Susan Ward ... Jill
Zen Gesner ... Ralph Owens
Brooke Burns ... Pretty / Ugly Katrina
There are some nice funny moments in this film that had me laughing out loud even if I was slightly uncomfortable with the general subject matter. It would have perhaps been interesting if this film was actually the other way round, vain materialistic woman seeing the beauty in a fat bloke rather than what usually happens with vain materialistic woman seeing beauty in a fa millionaire bloke.
The scene in the swimming pool was the one that had me laughing the hardest and was a great visual joke, overall some of the humour does not work but Black puts in a quality performance and he is well supported.
Definately a film worth seeing in my opinion.
As ths is a Farrelly brothers film you can expect the humour to be rather crude and quite basic howeveron the face of it this film did have a message as it focused on the fixation with what defines beauty and the obsession with the Hollywood skinny look, plus you get to see Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit which has to be worth a laugh.
Jack Black stars alongside Paltrow as the Hal from the films title. Hal will only date those women who are very beautiful, this takes a bit of believing because to be honest Jack Black is no looker however one day the arrogant Hal is hypnotised to only fall in love with the inner beauty that he is able to see. Under this influene he falls in love with Rosemary, a woman of size as the PC term goes, this is Paltrow in a fat suit however when you see her through the eyes of Black you see the real slimline Paltrow.
This means you get loads of visual gags with the two of them in a canoe but black is up in the air as she is so much heavier, non of this humour is very subtle but then the Farrelies do not know the meaning of the word.
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Rosemary Shanahan
Jack Black ... Hal Larson
Jason Alexander ... Mauricio Wilson
Joe Viterelli ... Steve Shanahan
Rene Kirby ... Walt
Bruce McGill ... Reverend Larson
Anthony Robbins ... Himself (as Tony Robbins)
Susan Ward ... Jill
Zen Gesner ... Ralph Owens
Brooke Burns ... Pretty / Ugly Katrina
I must say this film was a bit of a sell out with an awfully predicatble ending and a sign that the magic of Something about Mary has faded from the Farrelly repertoire as they sell their souls to Hollywood big time.
If you like predicatble rom coms with a limited imaginaion and wafer thin plots then go for it otherwise watch Sliding Doors which is better.
After a succession of hugely successfully movies of a lower brow nature, Shallow Hal finds the Farrelly Brothers attempting a slightly more thoughtful film, albeit still tied up in their trademark toilet humour. It's an approach that is not unproblematic but not unsuccessful either, resulting in a film that engages the emotions in a manner that the likes of Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin and There's Something About Mary never suggested possible. Jack Black is the Hal of the title, a man whose less than commendable attitude to women is suddenly altered by the rather credibility-stretching plot device of a chance meeting with a hypnotist. Henceforth Hal is only capable of seeing the beauty within, a development that allows for much humour at the expense of the less fortunate in the name of some sort of social comment. From it all, however, emerges a quite touching love story with Paltrow's character Rosemary and proof that the Farrellys do have something of a sensitive side--no matter how deep it may be buried. The ending may be woefully predictable, but such is the deftness of touch with which the story is told, that it is still the one we are all rooting for. This is a sickly sweet film in the truest terms. On the DVD: Shallow Hal comes with a plethora of extras on disc, including a series of mini-documentaries and TV specials, all of which plug the film but offer very little insight. That does come, however, from the handily subtitled directors' commentary, which demonstrates clearly the clash of cultures occurring in the movie. As well as commenting on the physical appearance of every female cast member who passes before the camera, the brothers also pay touching tribute to a colleague who passed away during the shoot and seem to know the name of every single extra and crew member who worked on the project, surely a rarity in these days of big budgets and faceless studios. There is also a large selection of deleted scenes, also with added commentary, a perfunctory music video from Shelby Lynne and a documentary on some of the technical aspects of the film. --Phil Udell