Following the advice of his dying father, Hal dates only women who are physically beautiful. One day, however, he runs into self-help guru Tony Robbins, who hypnotizes him into recognizing only the inner beauty of women. Hal thereafter meets Rosemary, a largely obese woman whom only he can see as a vision of loveliness. But will their relationship survive when Hal's equally shallow friend undoes the hypnosis?Written by
When a closeup of fat Rosemary walking out onto the springboard is shown, it bends very far down under her weight, but when it cuts to a faraway shot from Hal's point of view, the board is only bent down as if it were supporting the weight of skinny Rosemary. See more »
"Shallow Hal" should be a harmless little morality play on finding inner beauty. It is, instead, a mean spirited film that seems to confirm all the things it preaches against.
Fat jokes and stereotypes abound; and may even have been funny if not so utterly far fetched. In one particularly stupid segment, the fat girl is so heavy she breaks her seat at a restaurant. Dumb, unkind and unlikely. Thirty minutes later: fat girl breaks another chair at a different restaurant.
How is Hal supposed to get beyond the unattractive fat? The fat girl herself thinks she's unattractive. Her father also says she's unattractive. At least Hal is shallow. What's Dad's excuse?
Fat people also have no manners. When offered a slice of cake, Rosemary breaks off one-third, grabs it in her bare hand, and walks off through her Dad's office. Do the Farrelly's really think this is how obese people behave? This may fly in "Dumb and Dumber", but Paltrow's character is far from dumb, she is after all educated and affluent.
To show us none of us is above being petty and judgmental, the Farrelly's use a character with crippled, withered legs which drag behind him as he walks, doubled over on his hands. The device is particularily jarring. This characters big joke comes when during a road trip fuel stop when Hal asks why he's donning rubber gloves. "Have you ever walked across a gas station restroom on with your bare hands," he replies. Makes me long for the sophistication of "American Pie."
"Shallow Hal" has it's moments of brilliance, offering a look at the world from some radically different perspectives. But those moments are too few. Sitting through this movie left me with the same feeling I get when I hear a racist joke or see someone ridiculed.
Perhaps the working title was "Hateful Hal." I can't understand why people get so uptight about sex and nudity, when something obscene as this little flick slip under the radar.
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