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Shallow Hal

Shallow Hal

3.8 9
Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black


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Jack Black continues his march to stardom with this typical Farrelly brothers blend of broad comedy and a heartfelt message. Black is Hal Larsen, a shallow man rapidly approaching middle age whose superficiality can be attributed to his father's deathbed admonition to only date young, beautiful women. Hal and his best friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander), have taken the


Jack Black continues his march to stardom with this typical Farrelly brothers blend of broad comedy and a heartfelt message. Black is Hal Larsen, a shallow man rapidly approaching middle age whose superficiality can be attributed to his father's deathbed admonition to only date young, beautiful women. Hal and his best friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander), have taken the advice to heart, but Hal finds all of his physically impressive girlfriends consistently lacking in other qualities that would make them ideal mates. When he bumps into self-help guru Tony Robbins (playing himself), the motivational entrepreneur is intrigued by Hal's predicament and hypnotizes him so that he'll only see the inner beauty of women. Hal is quickly smitten with Rosemary Shanahan (Gwyneth Paltrow), a blonde Peace Corps volunteer who's tenderhearted, funny, and intelligent. She is also gorgeous and meets Hal's basic criteria of outer perfection, but what he doesn't realize is that Robbins' spell is working and he cannot see that Rosemary actually weights 300 pounds. When Mauricio is finally able to snap Hal out of his charmed state, Hal's in love with the inwardly perfect woman and must overcome his obsession with beauty. The script for Shallow Hal (2001) was developed when Peter Farrelly enjoyed the humorous letters written to a mutual friend by Sean Moynihan, a computer software executive who followed the filmmaker's advice to take up screenwriting.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
The dynamic sibling duo of Bobby and Peter Farrelly use relative newcomer Jack Black to great effect in Shallow Hal, squeezing every comedic drop out of an oh-so-high concept. High Fidelity's Black plays Hal, a shallow if affable loser with an overactive libido who's hypnotized by self-help guru Tony Robbins to see only the inner beauty of everyone he meets. He soon falls head-over-heels for a 300-pound behemoth of a kindhearted altruist, who appears to him as svelte beauty Gwyneth Paltrow. The Farrellys explore every nook and cranny of their gimmick, delivering a host of sight gags and having their characters constantly talking at cross-purposes, as everyone else sees the true girth of Hal's furniture-crushing beloved. And it's precisely because they push their fantasy to the breaking point that the conceit is so tantalizing. The leads pull their weight admirably -- Black walking a fine line of boorish likablity and Paltrow sweetly oblivious to her own charm. Jason Alexander costars, playing true to his Seinfeld form as Hal's even shallower best friend. Don't expect the Farrellys' patented gross-out humor, though: Shallow Hal is a sentimental fantasy with wise-guy wit, reminding viewers that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A familiar sentiment, indeed; but rarely does one ever see it delivered with such goofy, compassionate humor.
All Movie Guide
Shallow Hal caused an immediate furor about its alleged characterization of fat people as the grotesque butts of sophomoric jokes. Of course, most of those complaining hadn't seen the source of their outrage. Peter and Bobby Farrelly's sixth film is about much more than the questionable sight gags that punctuate the trailer. For the first time in their scatological careers, the directors have made a film that actually provokes thought, delivering a message about social perception that's far more idealized than wicked, and not fixated on weight alone. There's natural discomfort in the fact that some punch lines revolve around seeing what Hal's beauties really look like, but the directors twist this brilliantly to help the audience reexamine its own ingrained shallowness. With the notable exception of cruelly exaggerating Rosemary's appetite, they rarely flog the joke, instead rendering the characters with painstaking dignity. The set-up also allows the actresses, from anonymous babes all the way up to a touchingly sweet Gwyneth Paltrow, a rare opportunity to demonstrate their ability to play characters with low self-esteem. Jack Black is perfect as Hal, a generally decent guy whose major flaw is shared by most of the audience -- that his cultural upbringing has taught him to judge the book by its cover. The "freaks" the brothers have always employed as part of their tasteless humor finally have thematic relevance, including characters with spina bifida and a vestigial tail. Shallow Hal may not move at the laugh-a-minute pace Farrelly fans expect, nor will it win any humanitarian awards. But the directors deserve credit for repudiating their usual hijinks in favor of ambitious, if somewhat naïve, social commentary, which just might open minds among viewers.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
There are enough moments of demented comedy to make you aspirate your popcorn, but by the end you may find yourself, with some amazement, sniffing back tears.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
Often very funny, but it is also surprisingly moving at times.
San Francisco Chronicle - Bob Graham
It gets away with fat jokes at the same time it seems to be on the side of the angels and inner beauty.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:

Special Features

Full-length audio commentary by directors Bobby Farelly and Peter Farrelly ; 11 deleted scenes with optional Farrelly brothers commentary; HBO special; Comedy Central's Reel Comedy: Shallow Hal; Music video: "Wall in Your Heart" by Shelby Lynne; Seeing Through the Layers makeup featurette; In at the Deep End With Shallow Hal stunts featurette

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gwyneth Paltrow Rosemary Shanahan
Jack Black Hal Larsen
Jason Alexander Mauricio
Joe Viterelli Steve Shanahan
Rene Kirby Walt
Bruce McGill Reverend Larson
Tony Robbins Himself
Susan Ward Jill
Zen Gesner Ralph
Brooke Burns Katrina
Rob Moran Other Hostess
Joshua Li'i'Boy Shitani Li'iBoy
Kyle Gass Artie
Laura Kightlinger Jen
Nan Martin Nurse Tanya Peeler
Sasha Joseph Neulinger Young Hal
John-Eliot Jordan Waiter
Jill Christine Fitzgerald Mrs. Shanahan
Fawn Irish Spastic Bella
Erinn Bartlett Bella
Daniel Greene Doctor
Danny Murphy Cabbie

Technical Credits
Bobby Farrelly Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Peter Farrelly Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Artists Asylum Makeup Special Effects
Sidney Bartholomew Production Designer
Russell Carpenter Cinematographer
Mark Charpentier Co-producer
Pamela Withers Chilton Costumes/Costume Designer
Sharon Davis Set Decoration/Design
Marc S. Fischer Co-producer
Al Gardner Makeup Special Effects
Christopher Greenbury Editor
Ivy Score Composer
Scott Jacobson Set Decoration/Design
Sarah S. Lopez Associate Producer
Kristofer W. Meyer Associate Producer
Rick Montgomery Casting
Sean Moynihan Screenwriter
Hal Olofsson Asst. Director
Manish Raval Musical Direction/Supervision
Jonathan "Earl" Stein Sound/Sound Designer
John Joseph Thomas Special Effects Supervisor
Bradley Thomas Producer
Arlan Jay Vetter Art Director
Charles B. Wessler Producer
Tom Wolfe Musical Direction/Supervision


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Shallow Hal 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
goodgirl2 More than 1 year ago
okay so he only likes women who are thin and beautiful and the movie proves that beauty is on the inside its not how a person looks the movie is funny but then gets sorta sad all in all a funny movie
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is so good and in a way educational, which can teach people not to look at people base on how they look. It is so great that everyone should watch it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is an awesome movie. i recommend it to anyone who enjoys comedy and romance combined with a really great moral. Even though this movie is a little weird with the guy having a tail, its a great all around movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved Shallow Hal. Jack Black is just crazy in this movie. Gwyneth Paltrow is awesome. This movie really was a smart and shows that people can still love people by their heart, not by their appearance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie! It is like my favorite I have seen It like 50 times! Great story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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