Meet Hal Larsen, the ultimate shallow guy. The first thing he looks for in a woman is, well, looks. Hal won't even consider dating someone with a less-than-perfect body, smile and sense of style. He pursues only supermodels, beauty queens and centerfolds. But after an impromptu hypnosis by self-help guru Tony Robbins, Hal's view of women makes a 180-degree turn; he now sees their true inner beauty. Enter Rosemary, an overweight Peace Corps volunteer. Hal, envisioning Rosemary's kindness and humor as female physical nirvana, is instantly smitten and an idyllic romance begins. When the spell is broken, Hal must face an unrecognizable Rosemary and learn one of life's most important lessons.
Bobby and Peter Farrelly, masters of grossout comedy, have always had a streak of tender humanism running through their movies, and in their latest it comes to the fore. Jack Black, in the title role, undergoes a transformation at the hands of the self-help maestro Tony Robbins, and perceives inner beauty as its physical counterpart. This means that Rosemary, an obese Peace Corps volunteer, takes on the appearance of Gwyneth Paltrow. Ms. Paltrow's performance is flawless, and the movie accomplishes the impressive feat of transforming a series of fat jokes into a warm, affirmative fable and a charming love story. – A. O. Scott
2001-11-09 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Shallow Hal