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Shallow Hal

Year: 2001
Studio: 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks
Director: Peter Farrelly/Bobby Farrelly
Producer: Peter Farrelly/Bobby Farrelly
Writer: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jason Alexander, Tony Robbins
A misnomer from the Farrelly brothers, who made their name with gross out teen comedy. A shallow guy has a hex put on him by self-help guru Tony Robbins (!) that makes him alone see only the inner beauty in people. Expected hijinks occur as he falls for a 300-pound woman, thinking she's a babe. All the usual Farrelly elements are here with the usual unashamed humanity of the disabled and disadvantaged (in this case, fat).

A lot of fans (and people who've seen the trailer) will be disappointed that it isn't one big fat joke, but I didn't believe it was the point. For a Farrelly movie, it was strangely sweet and tender, with a moral that was no less Hollywood/Disney style than any other movie, but a nice one all the same. For some reason, maybe because it's a topic everybody is aware of and nobody talks about, it stuck with me much longer than usual after leaving the cinema.

Jack Black played every character he's ever played, Gwyneth Paltrow finally looks like she's had a good meal put in her (even in her thin incantation) and her vulnerability and uncertainty was played well and made me feel for her. Jason Alexander will never play anything other than short neurotic guys successfully.

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