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20th Century Fox
Official Site
Directors: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly
Producers: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Bradley Thomas, Charles B. Wessler
Written by: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Moynahan
Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Tony Robbins

Rating: out of 5

At the end of the movie a single tear rests at the duct of my squinting eye. I realize that and wipe it off; Iím not exactly sure how it got there. I sit and think. This is what I think.

The Farrelly brothers come to the stage with yet another act. After the likes of 1994ís DUMB AND DUMBER, KINGPIN, 1998ís THEREíS SOMETHING ABOUT MARY and the most recent, ME, MYSELF AND IRENE, the duo have sprung leaping laughs upon the American audience and we stand or sit, ready to embrace or sprint away from their next venture. Enter SHALLOW HAL, with its interesting soundtrack, big name cast, and odd qualities.

SHALLOW HAL ponders beauty. It looks at it, it tries it on, it throws in your face, and follows up by spitting out some of the most offensive lines Iíve heard. Hal Larsen (Black) a young, quasi-professional, incredibly superficial being likes dating, but only considers the most perfect creatures roaming the world worthy. Along side is his sidekick and counselor, Mauricio (Alexander). As the movie opens we find Hal and Mauricio dancing at a club, and around them we see supermodels galore. We think this is funny, the way the supermodels run from them. They donít. They talk about their girlfriends and we realize that this is how they define themselves.

By some supernatural power, Hal finds himself trapped in an elevator with Tony Robbins (as himself), the self-help guru. Robbins and he talk and Robbins realizes that Halís objectification of women is beyond control, so he mesmerizes Hal into seeing the inhabitants of the world by what they carry inside. In a flash, Hal can only see inner beauty and for once in his life, those beauties find him completely irresistible.

Hal meets Rosemary (Paltrow). She shines, she radiates, the camera overexposes, and she looks like an angel. Sheís funny, giving, intelligent, rich, and sexy. And for Hal, the best part is that she likes him. Mauricio gawks. She, on the other hand, manages to break multiple chairs and benches by sitting on them. The audience likes when she breaks through these things, they laugh. Mauricio still gapes and slowly we realize that Rosemary isnít a shiny, radiant angel; she is bigger than thatósheís unrecognizably larger. So with so much disapproval, Mauricio finds a way to break the spell to show his friend the real Rosemary, the girl with the cankles instead of ankles.

And this is the real twist, the thing that brings that little tear to the corner of my face. Will Hal approve or disapprove? It was breaking my heart as I watched and questioned the motives of humanity and its glossy magazine models. I see the formula the Farrelly Brothers manipulate, and granted, it doesnít leave an introspective residue, but it leaves me feeling like that movie was so cheesy, so bad, so jumpy, so insulting to women, to those of us out there who donít look like models,that the payoff actually leaves an imprint, embossed and shiny. SHALLOW HAL is purposely so bad itís good. And it has a moral, a good one that left me feeling like a bubbly child. Plus I laughed. Iím sure you will too.

óDalel Serda

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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