On the surface, Shallow Hal appears to be a movie busting at the seams with crude fat jokes and filthy gags. After all, what can you expect from the Farrelly brothers, directors best known for the vulgar comedies Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary?
But look deeper and you'll see that Shallow Hal is actually a story with a message.
Hal (Jack Black), on the basis of his dying father's advice, believes that any woman less than 5 feet 10 inches tall or weighing more than 110 pounds is unworthy of his time. But Hal is no beauty himself. So the movie plays along, with Hal and his friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander) consoling each other in the midst of their dating slump.
Then one day Hal gets stuck in an elevator with self-help guru Anthony Robbins (who plays himself). Mr. Robbins understands Hal's predicament with women and offers a solution. He hypnotizes Hal so that he'll see a woman's inner beauty instead of her physical appearance.
Suddenly Hal feels like a lady's man - women he thinks never would have paid attention to him before now swarm around him. But he's the only one who sees it that way: Mauricio and the rest of the world realize that these women are far from gorgeous and can't seem to figure out why Hal is attracted to them.
Hal meets the very obese Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) soon after and finds it hard to believe that this woman - who, in his eyes, looks like Ms. Paltrow - is willing to date him. They fall in love, despite everyone else's criticism.
Shallow Hal contains plenty of cute romantic scenes as well as a few laughs - if you're not offended by fat jokes although many of the best laughs are given away in the movie's trailer. Overall, though, the film still has a lot to offer.
Teen board member Lindsay Wilkes-Edrington, 15, is a sophomore at North Augusta High School.
MPPA RATING: PG-13 for language
CAST: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black and Jason Alexander
DIRECTOR: Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly
RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 54 minutes
THE VERDICT: B-plus
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