The Farrelly Brothers' Shallow Hal gives Jack Black his first starring role in a major Hollywood motion picture. The movie also stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Jason Alexander.
Jack Black plays Hal Larson, a completely shallow individual who judges women solely on their appearances, even though Hal isn't what most would consider an attractive man. This precludes him from developing any meaningful relationships in his life, but given him and his friend's Mauricio (Jason Alexander) views towards women in general, they garner little sympathy from the viewer. A chance meeting with television self help guru Tony Robbins changes this for Hal. After a lengthy discussion in a stalled elevator, Tony Robbins decides to give Hal a gift, allowing Hal to only see the inner beauty of not only women, but people in general. This causes Hal to see women who may not be considered physically attractive to most appear to be the most beautiful women in the world, given that they have inner beauty. This new view on women, or beer goggle laser surgery, as Mauricio puts it, allows Hal to meet Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, and who also happens to be the daughter of his boss. Hal is instantly smitten with Rosemary, even though in reality, she is profoundly obese. Eventually Mauricio discovers what happened to his friend, and convinces Tony Robbins to tell him how to bring back the 'old' Hal. Does Hal, who now can see Rosemary as she really is, revert back to his old ways or accept that beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
Jack Black is truly funny in this movie, but I think Jason Alexander almost outdoes him in basically bring the role of George from the television show Senfield to the film, tweaking it a little bit to make him so completely hollow in character. Paltrow also performs very well, despite her having to wear a suit that makes her appear a couple of hundred pounds heavier than in reality. The Farrelly Brother succeed again in bringing humor to subject matter most probably wouldn't touch, and allowing us not an opportunity to laugh at obesity, but to laugh at the superficialities many of us have, conditioned into us through the various forms of media we ingest on a daily basis. This movie, while maybe not as funny as There's Something About Mary (1998) or Dumb and Dumber (1994), is a bit more touching and that served to balance the story out nicely.
Presented here is a wide screen anamorphic print, with quite a bit of extra features like deleted scenes, featurettes, a music video by Shelby Lyne, and commentary by the Farrelly Brothers. I'll leave you with a couple of my favorite lines from the movie involving Mauricio (Jason Alexander) and Tony Robbins debating Hal's new perspective...
Mauricio: The thing is all the women he's been seeing are ugly.
Tony Robbins: Who says they're ugly?
Mauricio: Bausch & Lomb.
Tony Robbins: Haven't you ever heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder?
Mauricio: Have you heard the song "Who Let The Dogs Out"?