Shallow Hal (2001)

Big women need love too.

The writing-directing siblings Peter and Bobby Farrelly train their camera on Hal (Jack Black), a terminal bachelor obsessed with scoring a knockout babe. A chance encounter in an elevator with a self-help guru imbues Hal with the (hallucinatory) power to see people’s inner beauty over their outer shell. Soon, he finds true love in Rosie, a 400-lb. social worker who appears to Hal in the lithe form of Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Farrelly Brothers are always known for their gross-out hits like Dumb and Dumber, and There’s Something About Mary. But never are they really known for their more sweeter comedies, like Fever Pitch, and this one.

As usual, this film has a lot of jokes within that work, and others that do not. There are plenty of fat jokes that will make you chuckle, but then you wonder if you were supposed to. At the end, it almost makes you think that making fun of fat people is wrong, which is kind of what this film was doing the whole time, so of course the whole message of this movie was kind of confusing.

But that doesn’t matter because this is a sweet little comedy. The irony is what works the best with this film, and although some jokes are a miss, others will have you laughing, but not as much as you would have expected from these two dudes. The Farrelly Brothers aren’t as immature with this film, and don’t provide a lot of gross-out humor, but it still does have it’s good moments, just not the best compared to other outings by these two. Also, they provide a lot more sweeter moments in this film, that do hit well much to my surprise.

Jack Black in the beginning really got on my nerves in this, but after awhile he started to grow on me. As the story goes on, he gets better and better, playing this funny, sweet guy that I can actually see getting the real Paltrow in real life. Nah, I was kidding, sorry Jack. Gwyneth Paltrow is also good here, playing a likable personality as Rose Mary. Jason Alexander is in this, and provides a lot more of the funnier moments, cause he plays an annoying deuche so well, to the point of where he isn’t annoying. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain, but he’s good in this too.

Consensus: A lot more sweeter and held back than their other comedies, The Farrelly Brothers make a romantic comedy, that may not be the funniest of theirs, but it still has enough laughs, and charms to satisfy.



  1. Hola and salutations Dan,
    Been too long since I dropped over, thought I’d give it a go, see what’s new and all. Caught your review of Shallow Hal, had some thoughts and words I wanted to share.

    Thanks for this by the way. Top notch review as always from you.

    Thanks for pointing out the other films of the Farrelly Brothers, Dumb and Dumber (which I must confess, I hated) and There’s Something About Mary (which I liked mostly but would prefer another viewing before I commented too far – I always remember the hair gel scene for some damn reason) and thanks for reminding me about the film Fever Pitch, which I haven’t seen.

    I think ultimately what bothered me about Shallow Hal was I got and appreciated the message, inner beauty versus outer beauty, but lets face it, they kinda made a shambles of it don’t you think? I found the fat/normal humor lost somewhere, perhaps in the directors inability to handle Jack Black. Did you see Margot at the Wedding by chance? Give it a go, nice to see Jacks’ more serious side. I think the giant size panties is what killed the movie overall.

    And Jason Alexander? He should stop selling potato chips or fried chicken, whatever he followed Seinfeld with. Maybe write because his range is about as complex as an ice cube.

    Anyway, cheers as always. Just posted a review (long overdue I might add) of As Good As It Gets over at the site if you’d like to pop over – enjoy hearing from you.

    cheers amigo

  2. i’ve seen shallow hal a couple of times and liked it fine. and i know it’s, like, not real or anything, but there is the question out there about falling for someone who seriously doesn’t fit your notion of what “beautiful” is, or whatever, and how that would work. there are guys here and especially in other cultures for whom weight works, if you know what i mean, but the issue is, if weight doesn’t work for you but you meet somebody who otherwise is a perfect match, what happens then? the movie just made me wonder about that. not that it ever happened to me, exactly, but almost nobody meets the perfect match, so most of us get to face the question one way or another…

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