Shallow Hal

"Terrible"

Shallow Hal Review


If it weren't for Gwyneth Paltrow, "Shallow Hal" would be utterly insufferable.

A nearly laughless, woefully under-written romantic comedy that flaunts its political incorrectness only to conclude with an insultingly insincere sermon about What's Really Important In Life, the picture is a product of the writing-directing Farrelly Brothers, who apparently exhausted their talent for bawdy laughs with "There's Something About Mary."

It stars impish Jack Black (so funny in "High Fidelity," so abrasive in anything else) as Hal, an obnoxious, unsightly, superficial pest who is interested exclusively in physically perfect hotties until the day he's hypnotized -- by self-help guru Tony Robbins (playing himself) -- into seeing only people's inner beauty.

Next thing you know, he meets Rosemary, a 300-pounder with such a sweet soul that in Hal's eyes she looks like a halo-lit Paltrow at her sexy, size-four ring-a-ding-dingiest.

Paltrow -- as sunny and appealing as ever -- taps with 100-percent authenticity Rosemary's earnest but cautious sweetness, and the intense insecurity and mistrust that she's built up over a lifetime of teasing and discrimination. She's warm but enjoyably acerbic, and she completely sells the absurdly overstated altruistism of her character, who volunteers in the burn ward at a children's hospital when she's not working for the Peace Corps.

But her genuinely endearing performance is tantamount to spreading frosting on a cowpie.

Dependent of cheap sitcom gimmicks to power its plot, the whole movie is predicated on an idiotic misunderstanding: Hal thinks Tony Robbins turned him into a hot chick magnet. Convenient coincidences abound (Hal's boss is Rosemary's dad? Well, how about that!). The story is pathetically predictable (Will Hal succumb to the beauty next door who is inexplicably attracted to him?). And the whole inner-beauty, inner-ugliness thing apparently applies only to three or four characters that are relevant to the plot.

"Shallow Hal" is, of course, plied with fat and ugly jokes, many involving Paltrow's bulky body double, all too conspicuously seen only from behind. Two of these jokes are funny, and you've already seen them in the commercial. In fact, the only fresh laughs of any kind come from Rosemary's defensive sarcasm. "Is that a Member's Only jacket?" she says to Hal's equally shallow best friend (Jason Alexander). "So what are you? The last member?"

Even with Jack Black's frenetic, loutish schtick (that gives way to nauseatingly disingenuous tenderness) pummeling your senses, even with the Farrellys' cheap shots flying willy-nilly, and even with Paltrow propping the picture up, "Shallow Hal" is conspicuously lifeless. It's like a cheap inflatable ball that half the air has leaked out of.

After the undercooked and uneven "Me, Myself and Irene," Peter and Bobby Farrelly were unquestionably on the decline, but who'd have thought they'd hit rock bottom this hard? Not only is this movie humorless and hypocritically sanctimonious, it's a really sloppy piece of filmmaking to boot. If nothing else, the Farrellys should be embarrassed by how blatantly obvious it is where gags, plot devices and sometimes whole scenes have been chopped out of the film as if it had been edited with a cheese grater.



Shallow Hal

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th November 2001

Box Office USA: $70.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $70.8M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 59

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Rosemary Shanahan, as Hal Larson, as Mauricio Wilson, as Steve Shanahan, as Reverend Larson, Tony Robbins as Tony Robbins, as Jill, Zen Gesner as Ralph, as Katrina, as Second Tiffany, as Artie, as Nurse Tanya Peeler, Sasha Neulinger as Young Hal, as Bella, Daniel Greene as Doctor

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.