[MOVIE REVIEW]Obese film too lightweightDoes anyone really believe the lark that beauty is only skin-deep? Beauty has long been one of women's strongest assets.
"Shallow Hal" is at least significant in that it does not try to fool women by suggesting that there might be a prince charming out there who is more interested in heart than in appearance.
Directed by the extraordinary and quick-witted brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, of "There's Something About Mary" (1998) fame, "Shallow Hal" is opening in Korea on Feb. 22.
Jack Black stars as Hal, an ordinary office worker spurred on by an extraordinary deathbed wish by his father. He leads a perpetual quest for physically perfect women, seemingly unaware of his own physical shortcomings. He is wise enough to think that "pretty girls are not funny, smart and nice," and that kind women must suffer from ugly duckling syndrome.
Then Hal encounters Tony Robbins, a celebrated self-help guru. Stuck in a broken elevator together, Robbins is intrigued by Hal's shallowness. Robbins hypnotizes Hal so that from then on Hal sees inner beauty as outward.
Soon enough, Hal falls in love with an extremely obese woman, Rosemary, played by Gwyneth Paltrow in disguise. Rosemary breaks steel chairs in restaurants and wears unexpectedly large underwear, but Hal does not understand why since he only sees her as Gwyneth Paltrow without a disguise. Rosemary at first cannot accept Hal's unexpectedly devoted love, but soon changes her tune.
Hal's equally immature friend, Mauricio, however, cannot stand Hal's sudden love for the "rhino-like woman." Mauricio asks Robbins to dehypnotize Hal, only to create an even bigger problem.
Black, as usual, perfectly fits his stupid and hilarious role, while Paltrow looks great even in her most unusual outfit. The Farrelly brothers are indeed talented in imagining things truly out-of-the-ordinary and funny. Indeed, the film is full of exceedingly, if sometimes excessively, humorous ideas. With ongoing episodes depicting Hal and Rosemary's odd relationship, they keep their audience entertained.
But the film leaves an awkward and uneasy aftertaste - especially for women. The Farrelly brothers' ideas are truly unconventional, but also annoyingly shallow. Even while criticizing "beauty is only skin-deep," the film implicitly goes along with the idea.
by Chun Su-jin
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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