Those of you who are fans of Me, Myself & Irene, Dumb and Dumber, and There’s Something About Mary, please don’t get your hopes up about Shallow Hal. The latest release by the Farrelly brothers falls short of being thoroughly funny. This time their usual “comedy with a heart” style of filmmaking doesn’t just leave you wanting more, but in fact leaves you wondering why you didn’t wait for it to come out on DVD.
The main character, Hal (Jack Black), is a wannabe player who is blind to the fact that he is brutally ugly and weird. He is constantly judging and hitting on girls based on their appearance and never stops to try and find the inner beauty of anyone. Then one fateful day he gets trapped in an elevator with self-help expert and motivational speaker Tony Robbins (as himself). Robbins convinces Hal that he is going about things all wrong and he hypnotizes Hal into a state in which he sees the inner beauty of all people.
From this point on, Hal approaches life in a whole new manner and starts to become attracted to “ugly” women with beautiful hearts. This is also when he meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), a 300-plus pound woman who eventually steals his heart. After some discomfort between the two, due to Hal insisting that Rosemary is beautiful with a perfect body, they finally seem to find happiness with one another. That is until Hal’s equally weird and shallow pal Mauricio (Jason Alexander) tries to get to the bottom of why he finds all of these plus-sized women attractive.
Mauricio tries to reason with Hal and explain to him that the women that he is attracted to, especially Rosemary, are monstrosities. Hal insists that Mauricio is crazy and he eventually reveals what happened in the elevator with Tony Robbins. Mauricio confronts Robbins, learns the key to snapping Hal out of this state and he does it … but at the wrong time.
Hal realizes what has happened and begins to suddenly ignore Rosemary because he does not want to hurt her after he sees her true form. This leads to a whole new set of problems for Hal until he decides to accept Rosemary and all women for what they are on the inside and not on the outside.
In the midst of all of this we come to find out that Mauricio’s shallowness stems from an insecurity about the fact that he is a freak of nature. It’s quite a tail, one of the few funny aspects of the movie.
All ends well in usual Farrell brothers fashion as Hal and Rosemary travel over seas together in the Peace Corps and live happily ever after.
All in all the movie is not necessarily bad, but it does not deliver the usual set of antics and gags one would expect from the Farrelly’s. Gwenyth Paltrow, Jason Alexander and Jack Black all play their parts well and they do make the movie fairly enjoyable. But hopefully the next flick by the brothers Farrelly will be more like the others that we all enjoy so much.