***½/**** Image A+ Sound A- Extras B-
starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander, Jimmy Badstibner
screenplay by Sean Moynihan & Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly
directed by Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly
by Walter Chaw Sadness saturates every frame of Peter and Bobby Farrelly's Shallow Hal like a melancholy tune. It seeps into the corners of a scene--into the wounded eyes of a young woman who has never been asked for her phone number and the wary acceptance of a compliment by someone accustomed to casual abuse. The premise of the film is deceptively simple: an extremely shallow man, the titular Hal (Jack Black), is given the ability by self-help guru Tony Robbins to see the "inner beauty" of people. This means that suddenly for Hal, many beautiful people appear ugly and many physically-unattractive people gorgeous. Some folks remain unchanged. In the case of the guarded and acerbic 300 lb Rosemary, she resembles Gwyneth Paltrow in Hal's eyes.