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"SHALLOW HAL"
(2001) (Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Minor Extreme *Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Mild Moderate None


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: After being reprogrammed to see only a person's inner beauty reflected as their outward appearance, a shallow man falls for a woman, oblivious to the fact that she's extremely obese.
PLOT:
Hal Larsen (JACK BLACK) and his friend Mauricio Wilson (JASON ALEXANDER) are two average looking guys who are extremely picky when it comes to how women should look. Of course, their shallowness means they're not particularly successful with the ladies, which is why Hal's across-the-hall neighbor, Jill (SUSAN WARD), has decided to dump him after just one date.

After that and not getting the promotion he expected, Hal's a bit depressed, but finds himself unexpectedly stuck in an elevator with motivational guru Tony Robbins (TONY ROBBINS). Upon hearing Hal's idea of an ideal woman, Tony decides to deprogram, or essentially brainwash Hal into seeing only a person's inner beauty, rather than judging them on their outward appearance.

Accordingly, when Hal meets various women he believes to be knockouts who aren't traditional beauties, Mauricio can't believe that his friend has suddenly dropped his standards and expectations and tries to inform him of such. Yet, Hal simply thinks his friend is crazy, and that's especially true when Hal meets and falls for Rosemary Shanahan (GWYNETH PALTROW), an extremely obese woman whom he sees as model-like thin.

While Rosemary initially is suspicious and/or disbelieving of Hal's compliments about her appearance, his behavior soon wins over her and her parents (JOE VITERELLI & JILL FITZGERALD), a point that doesn't escape Hal's co-workers since Mr. Shanahan runs the company where they work.

As Hal climbs the corporate ladder, and he and Rosemary hang out by themselves as well as with friends such as Walt (RENE KIRBY), a man suffering from spina bifida who gets around on all fours, things seem to be going great for them. That is, until Mauricio decides he must take matters into his own hands to return Hal back to the way he used to be.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Teens may want to, as might anyone who's a fan of someone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For language and sexual content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JACK BLACK plays a shallow man who judges women solely by their looks. Yet, when he's essentially hypnotized to see their inner beauty, he finds himself falling for an obese woman (that he only sees as thin). He also uses some profanity.
  • JASON ALEXANDER plays his equally shallow friend who's also hung-up on external appearances and tries to return Hal back to his old ways. He also uses some profanity.
  • GWYNETH PALTROW plays both the skinny woman that Hal sees and her obese counterpart that everyone else sees. Suffering from low-esteem, she brightens up with the attention that Hal pays to her, but then suffers when he seems to revoke it.
  • RENE KIRBY plays a good-natured friend of theirs who gets around on all fours due to having spina bifida.
  • SUSAN WARD plays Hal's neighbor who wants nothing to do with him until she sees that he's interested in Rosemary. She uses some profanity.
  • JOE VITERELLI plays Rosemary's father and the big boss at Hal's company. He briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • TONY ROBBINS plays himself, a motivational guru who essentially hypnotizes Hal to see only a person's inner beauty rather than their outward appearance.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 use of the "f" word, while various other expletives, as well as colorful phrases, are also used. Some brief but crude scatological related talk occurs, while some sexually related dialogue is also present. Meanwhile, a woman (in skinny form) undresses for a man who's waiting for her in bed and we see some partial nudity before the implied sexual encounter. Other shots of that woman and other women show various amounts of exposed flesh.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, particularly when it comes to judging women by their looks and making disparaging remarks about obese ones. In addition, while the film ultimately turns out to be supportive of overweight people, many scenes use their physical size as the butt of various jokes.

    Various characters drink, a few minor ones smoke, while the brief sight of a young burn victim might be unsettling for some viewers, as might another scene where a 9-year-old sees his father pass away on his death bed (after passing on sexist, sex-based "wisdom") to his boy (but it's ultimately played for laughs).

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what's present and/or occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Hal and Mauricio have beer in a club, and later have beer again in another scene where others also drink (and Walt orders a bottle of champagne for Hal's table).
  • Hal offers to get Rosemary a beer, but we never see that happen.
  • Hal and Rosemary have wine with dinner with her parents.
  • Jill invites Hal to come over and have a bottle of wine with her, but he declines.
  • People drink at some sort of party.
  • Jack and Rosemary have wine.
  • Hal and Jill have wine.
  • Crashing a party, Mauricio announces that he could use a drink and we later see him and others with some.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Mauricio announces that he has to go "fire off a missile" (defecate) and we then hear him calling for Hal to come look at one of his "turds" (we never see it) stating that it looks like Klinger from "M*A*S*H."
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Both Hal and Mauricio are shallow men who only view women by their external appearances and want nothing to do with them if they're not attractive. While that changes for Hal (when he's somewhat blinded to visual reality), Mauricio continues to make disparaging remarks about Rosemary and others based on their weight and/or looks and eventually goes to Tony Robbins to have him remove the "spell" he thinks he put on Hal.
  • Some viewers might not appreciate the joke based on a dying preacher giving his young son advice (while under the influence of morphine) about life and that some of it's sexually related and/or demeaning to his wife.
  • Although the film is ultimately pro-obese people, there are scenes where Rosemary's size is the butt of various jokes, such as her chair and later a booth back breaking from her weight; her drinking a huge milkshake in one long sip from a straw and taking a huge chunk out of a cake; splashing a great deal of water from the pool when jumping in; being seen in a swimsuit and later in short shorts and a small top; and her being too heavy for Hal to pick up and her then causing a car to sag on the side where she's sitting, etc.
  • Three men entering a restaurant joke about Rosemary's size and of there being no food left for them.
  • Rosemary's dad briefly has a bad attitude about her (not in her presence).
  • Hal avoids Rosemary once he knows what she looks like and does so until he believes that Tony can put him back under the spell to see only her inner beauty and not her obese self.
  • Jill wants nothing to do with Hal until she sees him with Rosemary and then tries to get him back.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • The sight of a young girl in a burn ward at a hospital (with scars on her face) might be unsettling/disturbing for some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Get the f*ck out" (said in a joking manner), "Sh*tter," "I don't need that circus sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "Funny as sh*t," "Jackass," "You little warthog," "Gal" and "Hotties" (woman/women), "What the hell /are you doing (here)/was that? "Banana hands," "Musical fruit" (what Hal calls Bean Town), "There's a pair of panties I recognize" (what Walt says to various women as a greeting), "If I had an ass, I'd rub it with twenties (what Walt says about being rich and having spina bifida), "Nuts" and "Nutty" (crazy), "Piss you off," "Fire off a missile" (defecate), "Turd," "Balls" and "Hairy Boys" (testicles), "This flat out sucks," "Skankles" (a comment about an obese person not having ankles), "Cut through the old crap cake," "You screwed me" (nonsexual), "I guess I did screw you" (nonsexual), "D*ckwad," "Don't be a smart ass," "Shut up" and "I'm a freaking idiot."
  • Hal and Mauricio dance with and around a bunch of women on a dance floor who want nothing to do with them (thus acting like pests).
  • Some kids could imitate Mauricio's caustic remarks/descriptions about the obese or unattractive (such as calling them a pack of stampeding buffalo, or hippos, etc.).
  • Mauricio puts Vaseline into Hal's eyes to make it look like he has medicine in/on them for conjunctivitis (to fool Rosemary).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 10 "s" words, 3 slang terms for sex ("pop" and "banging"), 3 slang terms using male genitals ("willie" and "d*ck"), 2 slang terms using female genitals ("poontang"), 6 slang terms for breasts ("t*ts," "tatties," "headlights," "beams," "knockers" and "grill"), 6 hells, 4 asses, 2 craps, 1 damn, 4 uses of "Oh my God," 3 each of "God" and "Jesus," 2 each of "For God's sakes" and "Oh God" and 1 use each of "My God," "Oh Jesus" and "Good Lord" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • In a flashback, Hal's dying father (a preacher) gives him some life advice that includes "Don't be satisfied with routine poontang." He also tells him to choose a classic beauty with "great tatties" (breasts) and that it's all about "hot young tail."
  • Hal and Mauricio try dancing with various women on a dance floor who want nothing to do with them. Thus, when the men back into someone they think is receptive, they rub their butts against them, only to find that they're doing so to each other.
  • Mauricio jokes about Hal's girlfriend and what she'll be "getting" from him (sexual connotation).
  • A woman tells Hal (about another woman) that her "t*ts" weren't even real. He replies, "I could squeeze them, that's real enough for me."
  • Hal talks to Tony about not getting "the courtesy of a severance pop" (one last sexual encounter after breaking up) with his girlfriend. Then, when talking about his "perfect" woman, he uses the term "headlights," "beams," "knockers" and "grill" for breasts. When Tony then asks if Hal would want a girlfriend missing a breast or half her brain, Hal asks if the remaining breast is big.
  • Various women show varying amounts of cleavage in various scenes, with the camera occasionally focusing on their clothed breasts. Mauricio's girlfriend shows cleavage and wears some short shorts.
  • While talking about something else, Mauricio jokes to Hal that at least he has a "bigger willie" than him.
  • We see Rosemary in a bathing suit, both in skinny (bikini) and obese form and then the same in a pair of tight short shorts and small top (with both bending over at a counter).
  • We see Hal, shirtless, in bed partly under the covers waiting for Rosemary (in skinny form) to come in. She does and we see her in a see-through negligee that shows her black bra and panties beneath it. As she stands facing Hal with her back to the camera, she removes the negligee, then her bra (we see part of the side of her bare breasts), and then bends over wearing a tiny thong bottom (we see most of her bare butt). We then see just him and the huge thong (belonging to Rosemary who's really obese) that she's thrown over to him and that he's now holding up (not believing they're hers and indicating she's standing nude in front of him). He then says, "Get over here" and we then see them in bed the next morning (implying they had sex or at least fooled around).
  • A comment is made about "banging fatties."
  • We briefly see skinny Rosemary's panties (and some cleavage) after she falls to the floor (and her dress flies up) when her chair breaks.
  • As Jill and Hal are at dinner together (after she persuades him to go), she asks to have the food to go, stating that it will taste better in bed.
  • After Mauricio tells Hal that he has a birth defect in the shape of a tail nub at the end of his spine, Hal says he must see it. Accordingly, and out on the street, Mauricio lowers his pants a bit and we both that nub as well as just the top of his bare butt.
  • Spotting a large woman he believes to be Rosemary (that he's never seen in her obese stage), Hal grabs and passionately kisses this woman. She's initially taken aback by this, but then gets into it and squeezes his clothed butt.
  • SMOKING
  • A few minor/miscellaneous characters smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A flashback scene has a young Hal (age 9) being at his father's deathbed (after being sent in by his mother), receiving some life advice from him, and then seeing him die (somewhat played for laughs).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • That although the film's message is about seeing inner rather than external beauty, its portrayal of the former is presented by an attractive and slender woman, rather than one who is obese.
  • How many men view women by their external appearance rather than who/what they are.
  • What it's like to be an obese woman in today's image conscious society.
  • The sight of a young girl in a burn ward at a hospital (with scars on her face) might be unsettling/disturbing for some viewers.
  • Hal sees a hostess that formerly looked like a woman, but now looks like a man in drag.
  • VIOLENCE
  • None.



  • Reviewed November 3, 2001 / Posted November 9, 2001

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