Sunday, April 26, 2009
Shallow Hal Review
Before Christmas, a friend lent me her DVD copy of Shallow Hal (is she trying to tell me something...) and I finally got around to watching it last night. I must say that it was an enjoyable, cheesy little film.
Hal (Jack Black), following the advice of his late father (Bruce McGill), only chases after drop-dead gorgeous women, desiring them only for superficial means. An obnoxious and selfish man, he and his partner in crime, Mauricio (Jason Alexander) continually hit the club scene failing to pick up time after time again.
After being passed up for a promotion at work, Hal finds himself trapped in an elevator with self-help guru Tony Robbins (Anthony Robbins) who hypnotizes him to see a woman's inner beauty. Unbeknown to himself, any nice woman Hal now sees looks like a super model, which allows him to get to know the real woman behind the body.
This leads him to meet and begin dating Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), a women who really weighs 200 lbs, but to Hal looks like, well, Gwyneth Paltrow. Rosemary also happens to be the daughter of his company's big cheese (Joe Viterelli), but this doesn't deter Hal from dating her and enjoying Rosemary for who she really is, which leads to Hal falling in love for the first time. But what happens when jealous Mauricio, who just wants his old bud back, attempts to break the hypnosis?
Shallow Hal is a very simple film in both it's conception and delivery, relying on Jack Black's style of humour to keep the audience laughing, and it often works. That, and every one's reactions to what Hal clearly can't see. The jokes, direct and inferred, are silly and stretched, but they're all in good fun, and Jason Alexander's hair piece is a work of art.
There are several very touching moments in the film and Hal's understanding of true love, and I genuinely felt sad for those children in the hospital, but it's all part and parcel with Hal's journey of self-discovery and maturity.
Shallow Hal won't redefine your standard for comedy films, nor will it change your dating habits, but it will make you laugh, it will make you smile, and even though I found the ending unrealistic, it will make you feel good in the end.
I give the film a solid, simple rental.