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Shallow Hal

By Eric Allen Hatch | Posted

Hal (Jack Black) is notoriously obsessed with women's looks until a freak encounter with a self-help guru enables him, unknowingly, to see people's inner beauty instead of their "true" appearances. He starts dating Rosemary, who looks just like Gwenyth Paltrow but strangely keeps breaking chairs whenever the couple eats out. Jason Alexander plays Mauricio, Hal's crass club-hopping friend, who is devastated that his best bud is becoming a chubby chaser. Hal cracks lots of juvenile jokes about large people, sending mixed signals about weight as it relates to self-esteem. Still, the Farrelly brothers' humor is sometimes charmingly inclusive. The directors depict a wide spectrum of physical and mental disabilities, but usually show these characters living actively, proud of who they are. Like their much more entertaining There's Something About Mary, Hal mimics typical romantic comedies, with explosive toilet humor punctuating the plot points. Hal relies more heavily on earnest romance but boasts a few good laughs--the biggest of which, surprisingly, have nothing to do with body fat.

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