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Still shot from the movie: Shallow Hal.

Shallow Hal

Powerfully suggesting that we need to view those around us for who they really are as opposed to their outward appearance, Shallow Hal provides a refreshing perspective on body image. Unfortunately, it also serves up a full course of crudities, profanities, and other sexual banter. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: C+
Violence: A-
Sexual Content: D+
Language: D
Drugs/Alcohol: B-
Theater Release: 08 Nov 2001
Video Release: 01 Jul 2002
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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Although a minister, Hal's dad (who had been prescribed morphine to ease his dying moments) expressed his last words frankly and crudely, advising his son to find a woman with "perfect" anatomical qualities (unlike Mom).

Shallow Hal - Official site Years later, Hal (Jack Black) and his best friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander) spend endless evenings roaming nightclubs looking for those perfect females. Never able to recognize the shallowness of their desires (and hardly realizing their own bodies fall somewhat short of physical flawlessness), Hal and Mauricio sift through a bevy of beautiful babes who offer repeated rejections.

Shallow Hal - Official site But a fated elevator ride changes Hal's life forever. Stuck between floors with self-esteem guru Anthony Robbins (playing himself), their extended discussion ends with Anthony providing a dose of hypnotic suggestion that leaves Hal with an entirely new perspective. Now his eyes will see the inner beauty people posses as opposed to their outward appearance. Within days, Hal is dating Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) who, from Hal's new viewpoint, is a knockout. Yet Mauricio, who sees the Rosemary everyone sees, tries to convince Hal that she's twice the woman he thinks she is.

Shallow Hal - Official siteAnd for that matter, Shallow Hal is twice the movie I was expecting. Given the infamous reputation of the Farrelly Brothers (responsible for such notables as Dumb And Dumber, Kingpin, and There's Something About Mary), the fact that I left the theater profoundly moved was a tremendous feat. This film holds a strong and sensitive statement regarding our impulse to judge people based on appearances alone. Further, it goes beyond the issues of obese females--although that is definitely the core of the story.

Sadly, parents wanting to share this meaningful experience with their teens (it's not suitable for young children), will discover the real fat that needs trimming are the many sexual innuendos, crude anatomical comments, profanities, and a scene where a woman disrobes (seen from behind) before getting in bed with a man. Just as Robbins suggests that Hal seek the inner-beauty, audiences will have to decide if it is worth looking past the excessive vulgarities to find the commendable message wrapped inside Shallow Hal.

Shallow Hal is rated PG-13: for language and sexual content.

Cast: Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow
Studio: 2001 20th Century Fox

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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