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
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
Perhaps the Farrelly brothers are still
looking for the clue they couldn't find during the making of this movie.
** (out of five stars)
Starring Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow
20th Century Fox