Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Joe Viterelli, Rene Kirby, Bruce McGill, Anthony Robbins, Susan Ward, Zen Gesner, Molly Shannon
Written by: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Moynihan
Directed by: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual content
Running Time: 113
Date: 11/01/2001

Shallow Hal (2001)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Don't Weight Up

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This insulting new comedy from Bobby and Peter Farrelly takes on one of society's most troubling issues, the fat person. But the film comes across as either too timid or too over-the-line. It also relies on age-old fat jokes for laughs, such as the cannonball in the swimming pool scene. Jack Black stars as the title character, who is given the ability to see "inner beauty" and hence falls in love with portly Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), whom he sees as her true thin self. Even this magical gizmo doesn't work for entire the film. Black sometimes sees others as they "truly" are and sometimes not, depending on how the plot is going. Jason Alexander makes an annoyingly abrasive sidekick, but Paltrow brings soul to the movie with her tender, tentative performance. Though Shallow Hal is just plain unfunny, it nonetheless has ten times more to say about being fat today than Catherine Breillat's truly awful Fat Girl.

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