Friday, November 9, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 57



Black, Paltrow star as beauty and beast in 'Hal' 

By Amanda Mahmoudi
Daily Cougar Staff

Apparently, talented young actors are having trouble finding decent work. 

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Jack Black has big panties to fill in the new Farrelly Bros. Comedy, Shallow Hal. Black stars as a self-centered man who gets hypnotized to only see the
inner beauty of people

Take Tenacious D's frontman Jack Black, for instance, whose brilliant portrayal of the obscure music fiend Barry in High Fidelity received nods from even
the harshest critics. 

Since that performance, Black has played several quirky, if not downright goofy, supporting roles in second-rate films like Saving Silverman. Despite his
past choices, his reasons for accepting the lead role in Shallow Hal remain a mystery. 

Of course, one could say the same things of the Farrelly brothers.

The directing duo started out with relatively comical movies like Kingpin and Dumb and Dumber. Then came the commercial success of There's
Something About Mary which starred Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz. 

Suddenly, the pressure was on to produce a movie that met new standards. 

What exactly were the new expectations? 

The question goes unanswered. Meanwhile, innocent consumers experience the trauma of watching a movie -- even with the best of intentions -- struggle
to flush itself down the toilet. 

Shallow Hal has all the traces of last year's mainstream hit What Women Want. 

The only difference here is that the beefcake image of Mel Gibson has been warped into that of an average guy with an average number of neuroses.

Hal's "misfortune" happens at the beginning. He gets stuck in an elevator with the infamous motivational speaker Tony Robbins. After listening to Hal's
incredulous views of women, the wizard of personal power casts a little spell. 

From that moment on, Hal is only able to see the true inner beauty of people.

It must be said that Black's performance encompasses all the reprehensible qualities associated with typical chauvinistic behavior. He's crass, callous and
continues to ogle women. 

Because of the spell, Hal clings to his superficial ideals, but inflicts them this time around upon the truly deserving people -- who are probably most like he

His best friend Mauricio, played by Seinfeld-veteran Jason Alexander, is completely confused by the change in Hal. 

Suddenly, Hal is dancing with overweight and unattractive women. Mauricio strives to make Hal see the light, but it's already too late.

Hal has fallen in love with an absolutely gorgeous woman -- or so he thinks. Her caring disposition actually begins to influence him. 

Soon Hal finds himself volunteering in the children's ward of a hospital. He even stops throwing cheap insults at a disabled acquaintance. Who could ask
for anything more?

Though Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) takes Hal's breath away, he can't ignore the strange little things that keep happening. For example, Rosemary has a
problem with chairs in restaurants. 

They keep collapsing whenever she tries to sit down, leaving her helpless and humiliated on the floor. If only Hal could have tied that together with her
huge appetite and her extremely wide lacy thong, he would not have been so surprised when Mauricio (quite possibly the worst character in any movie
ever) succeeds in bringing him back from the world of the superficially impaired.

So, you must be dying to know how Hal reacts once he sees the real, clinically obese, Rosemary. You won't find a clue here.

Perhaps the Farrelly brothers are still looking for the clue they couldn't find during the making of this movie.

Shallow Hal

** (out of five stars)

Starring Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow

20th Century Fox

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