Hello fellow movie goers from across the globe. Today’s “Flashback Review” is about a short pudgy man who’s really picky when it comes to women. He gets hypnotized by Tony Robbins (pre-alleged harassment) acquiring the ability to see through a person’s “inner beauty.” He meets an attractive lady, who’s really a chubby person. Thus, Hilarity Ensues. The premise I’m referring to is “Shallow Hal.”
Shallow Hal was released in 2001. (same year Osmosis Jones came out) It received mixed reviews from critics and managed to make enough money at the box office.
Before Jack Black’s upcoming film, “Jumanji: The Next Level” comes out this December, I’d like to share my thoughts on what’s good or bad about Shallow Hal.
This review contains crucial SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen this movie, read at your own risk.
Light & Heavy Aspects
Light: Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow & Jason Alexander all did a decent job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Both Jack & Gwyneth admit they starred in the film for a hefty paycheck. Jack believed that this movie made him a sellout. Gwyneth on the other hand didn’t like the script and hated wearing a fatsuit which made her felt uncomfortable. No wonder she founded “Goop” to prevent herself from becoming chubby.
Other Cast Members such as Kyle Gass (Jack’s pal from Tenacious D) & Tony Robbins both did a good job for their respective performances.
Prosthetic Makeup was used to depict Gwyneth as an overweight woman by wearing a fatsuit.
Cinematography didn’t suffer from any technical problems.
Character Development involving Hal. He goes from a shallow person to a kindhearted individual who realizes unattractive people aren’t always ugly on the outside. It’s ironic that Hal is actually a short pudgy man, so is Jason Alexander’s character Mauricio.
Pay attention to Hal’s apartment room number. A subliminal message which is actually pretty funny.
My favorite line is, “Is she behind the rhino?” Mauricio delivers the line. It deserves Bonus Points for making me laugh so hard.
Mauricio’s crush is “Wonder Woman.” He’s finally happy to see Gal Gadot on the big screen. Coincidentally, Cartoon Network’s “Justice League” aired the same month Shallow Hal came out.
The film is dedicated to Charlie Seabrook, a late friend of The Farrelly Brothers.
A Plot Twist reveals Mauricio, who has a birth defect resembling a tail.
If I see Jason Alexander rambling about a specific subject, I can automatically picture George Costanza (from Seinfeld) coming up with a get-rich-quick-scheme. As in “The Human Fund.”
Molly Shannon makes a cameo appearance. This time she’s not getting spewed by Bill Murray in “Osmosis Jones.”
The End Credits shows The Cast & Crew working on the film while having a good time. Jack & Gwyneth didn’t like working on the movie. At least Jack got better rocking out with Kyle Gass & Gwyneth was lucky to marry Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin. Sadly, they broke up.
At the 1:48:34 mark, a first assistant cameraman is named, Bill Finger. Perhaps he’s named after the co-creator of Batman? Remember Mauricio mentioned Wonder Woman? I see what you did there Farrelly Brothers!
Heavy: The Farrelly Brothers failed to double check the script for specific rewrites or showing a first draft to their peers for feedback.
Jason Alexander obviously wears a headpiece.
Tony Robbins’ involvement can be uncomfortable at times due to his alleged “recent behavior.” I haven’t decided if his rumored harassment scandal is real or not. If he admits he did it, I’ll have to Double Down Points, if he didn’t do it, I’ll let this con slide.
Rosemary’s father turns out to be Hal’s boss at his job. I find this plot point summed up in one word, contrived. Even Hal’s wealthy friend knows Rosemary.
A Plot Hole Involving no logical explanation why Hal is not able to feel Rosemary’s real physical weight. Its addressed later on that Hal’s brain affected his mental and physical senses. So I’ll let this con slide.
An actual Plot Hole involving Hal who also sees the inner attractiveness of Rosemary’s ex-boyfriend. Here’s my one problem, why didn’t Hal see his boss/Rosemary’s father who suddenly looks like a young Hugh Hefner.
The film is a tad dated. For example, George Harrison is mentioned to reunite with fellow Beatles members, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr. George died thirty days after Shallow Hal was released. Someday in the future, it’s gonna be devastating to hear the news that two remaining Beatles are gone.
Product Placement featuring brands such as Budweiser, Jeep, Coca-Cola, Nike, Pepto-Bismol, Old Spice and Volkswagen.
The Final Verdict: C, FOR CUCKOO CUCKOO! (a line from the film)
In my opinion, Shallow Hal is a mixed bag filled with some good aspects listed as light. As for the bad aspects, they seem to make this feel-good fantasy rom-com as a ping pong ball forever trapped in limbo with two players trapped in some kind of purgatory. What I’m trying to say is there’s no way to make it out as good or bad. Just a disappointment. If you want to watch a something better, I recommend “Osmosis Jones,” which is also directed by The Farrelly Brothers.