Shallow Hal Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly

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I didn’t want to see this film.

Western society has a real disdain for the overweight. Most of these individuals develop real emotional scarring from the overt statements to the covert looks. The trailers showed this same lack of heart: lame jokes where a chair breaks or a boat that’s weighted toward the front…I had no desire to spend two hours poking fun at a group who has enough issues.

As the story unfolds, Hal (Jack Black) is portrayed as the classic, overly stereotypical commitment-phobe who only concentrates on appearance. He is then granted the ability to see women for their true inner beauty and meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow). She’s gorgeous in his eyes but afflicted with seriously low self esteem.

I felt a lump in my throat even during the non-funny, non-dramatic moments. Just seeing the daily difficulties and constant self-doubt of Rosemary made me want to cry. There were indeed many slapstick moments, but this is the Farrelly brothers, so I expected no different.

The film is cut awkwardly in several places, such as a car scene with Rosemary and one of her coworkers. The dialogue didn’t fit the character (a supposedly ugly-on-the-inside pretty girl), and the scene didn’t cause any laughs and/or plot progression. I think something must have been cut for time. Suspension of disbelief is also a must, so if you’re irritated when characters seem dumber than they should be, this flick is not for you. However, Gwyneth’s shy performance is wonderful and understated amid silly situations. Tony Robbin’s cameo is great; I admire people who know themselves well enough to be comfortable with charicature.

I will try not to go into a diatribe here, but the film really did show how our society treats the overweight. The astounding part that I didn’t realize is that the overweight put themselves down too. None of them can take Hal’s compliments, even though their souls are truly wonderful.

I’m seeing a pattern: most of these films I see are not what I want. Sometimes it works in my favor, sometimes not. This time, I’m glad I was dragged.

[rate 3.0]

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