It's not so shallow after all...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 07/02/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Its funny when you walk into a movie expecting cheap laughs and wind up rather impressed with how emotionally centered the film wound up being. That is kind of the feeling I get with `Shallow Hal'. Sure, some of the laughs are cheap and this is by no means an Oscar contending `message film', but there is a surprising depth found in this `shallow' film.
The film revolves around Hal, a looks obsessed man who is rather obnoxious and is virtually alone thanks to his `high standards' and lack of any real tact. He is constantly warned by others to look for the inner beauty, but he basically refuses to do so, instead divulging his time seeking after hot-tail that always turn him down. He's saddled with a possibly even shallower best friend who uses the minutest of reasons to disregard the women he is with (and how he manages to get the woman he is with is beyond my comprehension). When Hal winds up stuck in an elevator with a hypnotist his disease is cured and he is given a new outlook on women. He only sees their inner beauty. So, when he meets the obese Rosemary, he sees the gorgeous Gwyneth Paltrow.
The humor here is surprisingly subtle, which I wholeheartedly enjoyed. Sure, I love it when the Farrelly brothers go overboard (well, sometimes) but it was nice to see them wear their hearts on their sleeves for a change.
Now, as some may be aware, I am not a huge Jack Black fan. I kind of find him `too much'. There is a lot going on with his `humor', but not enough payoff in my book. Here though, he actually follows through and delivers probably his finest comedic performance. It's outlandish (as are all of his offerings) but there is an emotional depth to his antics that he doesn't often find. Gwyneth Paltrow is the real treasure here though. Despite her radiant beauty, she understands how to play Rosemary in a way that makes us wholly aware of her awkwardness. She effortlessly puts on the front of being overweight while looking next to angelic. Aside from the physical acting she captures, Paltrow also handles the films comedic and dramatic layers like a pro.
I really wish we saw MORE of her.
Like some have mentioned, the humor is subtle and at times it can seem as though the film forewent the laughs all together, but I think that in the end this serves the film well because it creates a more heartfelt and `poignant' feel."