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Shallow Hal

Posted by Player under Comedy

Shallow HalFrom the same people who brought you Kingpin and Something About Mary, comes Shallow Hal, a film about a young man trying to be successful in both love and work.

The Ferrely Brothers, like to make movies that make fun of everyone and on some perverse level, their comedy does seem to work for some people, but let me warn you that Shallow Hall goes above and beyond their usual jokes and touches on what is probably the single most important factor in our lives: our looks and what other people think of them. It is a touchy subject and one which the Ferrely Brothers stomp all over. Even Fox, the studio who produced the film, attaches a warning label to the beginning of the film.

Jack Black plays Hal, an unsuccessful ladies man who was emotionally damaged by seeing his father on his death bead. It is from his father’s last words that he inherits his shallowness and winds up being an adult who fancies more a woman’s body than her mind. That is until one day, when he is stuck in an elevator with a motivational speaker who hypnotizes him to “only see people’s inner beauty”. At this point, Hal meets the most unattractive women and finds them incredibly alluring and beautiful. The point being is that he is himself and that truly is what women are attracted to in the end. Hal of course does not realize any of this and when he meets an incredibly thin woman (played by Gwenyth Paltrow), his honesty gets him not only a girl, but a relationship. This does not sit well, with Hall’s friend, played by Jason Alexander, who has his own insecurities.

In between there are a lot of fat jokes and what many will find sick humor, from chairs breaking every time Paltrow sits down, to even making fun of handicapped individuals. The Ferrely Brothers do not hold back anything and many will wonder if this is really necessary, just for some jokes that end up not working many times.

By the time the film is almost over, the one thing that stood out for me was the scene where Hal visits a hospital ward for children and sees a little girl as she really is physically. It shows pretty much what the Ferrely Brothers wanted to say about vanity; somehow this message gets lost for most of the film.

Shallow Hal really tries to deliver on the jokes, but I think the subject matter was too much to overcome and the movie ends up being half a cruel joke instead. As far as Ferrely Brothers films go, this one did not succeed on all levels, like Kingpin, Something About Mary, or Dumb & Dumber which are their most successful works to this day.

3 out 5 stars

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