Shallow Hal

Shallow Hal

DVD - 2002
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Following the advice of his dying father, Hal dates only physically beautiful women. One day, he runs into a self-help guru who hypnotises him into recognizing only the inner beauty of women. Hal then meets Rosemary, a grossly obese woman who Hal sees as a vision of loveliness. Will their relationship survive when Hal's equally shallow friend undoes the hypnosis and Hal sees the real Rosemary?


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Apr 02, 2015

Shallow Hal is based around Hal: a man with ridiculously shallow standards for women, hence the name. One day, he finds himself meeting a self-help guru who places Hal under a hypnosis that only lets him see inner beauty. After being hypnotized, Hal falls in love with Rosemary, a girl who is attractive in his eyes but in reality is obese and someone who he would not like before. When Hal is taken out of the hypnosis, how will he act?
Shallow Hal is a romantic comedy which features Jack Black as the lead Hal and Gwyneth Paltrow as his love interest. The acting is pretty standard and is what you would expect from a film. It wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t great. As a Jack Black fan, I enjoyed him in this, but he plays a similar role to most of his other characters so if you aren’t a fan keep that in mind. He actually has a few endearing moments in the film and despite his beginning shallowness he really does seem to grow as a character throughout it. Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Rosemary, is pretty decent. I liked her, and she was never annoying or anything like that, but she also never had any big developments like Hal. You see her open up to him, but even then the development is lacking. Still, she was likable.
There are other characters in the film: Hal’s best friend who is even shallower than shallow Hal himself, a few girls that pop in and out which Hal meets after his hypnosis, and the girl who lives next door. She was especially cliché in this. Without spoiling it, there were a few characters that are there to shock and touch the viewer, and they actually did a good job with this! You really get to see a different side to this movie after their twist.
It’s the inside that counts! The message is clear throughout the entire film. This message is preached more and more as you get closer to the end, and I have to say I actually really appreciate the way it was done. Rosemary never had an arc where she lost all that weight like I feared, and instead Hal learns to love her the way she is. I love this because I was scared they were going to have her become ‘pretty’ at the end to please Hal’s character, but thank goodness they didn’t! There’s a part where they find out how a group of people truly look, and when you see them that way it really is touching. (Not specifying as it’s a pretty big spoiler). This movie starts off really goofy and then transitions into a much deeper story, and I can really appreciate a comedy movie which can do this. So in that sense, props to you, movie! You grow with Hal in this movie, and you can see how the jokes develop with him, which I’m grateful for.
Still, there are still a few problems I have with this film. The first having to do with the hypnosis itself. There are so many things that just kind of go unexplained and I find myself wanting answers. There are some people (mostly women) who change in his eyes, and then some stay the same. Are there limits to how many people can change in his eyes, or exceptions? And how did the hypnosis even work on him? I also kept wondering how he would cuddle with Rosemary and still see her as her tiny imaginary self, how did he not… feel her? None of this is explained and I had to make up reasons after to deal with my curiosity.
I was also bothered how it seemed like every physically beautiful woman became ugly in Hal’s eyes, and every conventionally unattractive woman became beautiful in his eyes. I really couldn’t tell if it was just a bad comedic addition or if that’s just how Hal’s universe works. I kept wondering why there wasn’t anyone who was just kind of good, kind of bad, like most human beings.
Overall though, I like Shallow Hal. I laugh at most of the jokes and find myself pulled into the drama near the end. Sure, it has problems, but it’s an enjoyable film if you don’t expect too much. That’s why I give it a: 3.5/5!

rwilles Aug 10, 2012

doesnt work


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