HTF REVIEW: "Shallow Hal" (with screenshots)

Ronald Epstein

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Shallow Hal




Studio: Fox
Year: 2001
Rated: PG-13
Film Length: 113 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)



The Biggest Love Story Ever Told
At the age of ten, a chubby little boy named
Hal was ordered by his dying father to seek
out in his lifetime only women of great beauty,
not to settle for any girl who was any less than
gorgeous.

Now in his mid-life, Hal (Jack Black) has become
a shallow, superficial, chauvinistic pig, who
tries to pick up women who are out of his league --
ignoring those who are not attractive physically.
Hanging out with his best friend Mauricio (Jason
Alexander), at the local club, he finds himself
getting turned down by women time and time again.

Hal's life suddenly changes upon getting stuck
in an elevator with self-help guru Tony Robbins,
who takes a great interest in Hal and decides to
help him by only letting Hal see a woman's inner
beauty.
Suddenly, Hal finds that beautiful women are
responsive to his approaches, and no longer hostile
to him as was the case before. The reason, quite
obvious to the viewer, is that Hal is hitting on
ugly fat women, only seeing their inner beauty.

Hal takes a personal liking in a 300 pound woman
named Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), who he sees as
a slim, fit 110 pound beautiful woman. The two
begin a comedic romance that pokes fun at the way
we look at beauty from outside in.

From the Farrelly brothers, Shallow Hal is
a wonderfully funny and enjoyable film with less
gags and more sweetness than what we have come to
expect from the Directors who brought us Something
About Mary
. The film is filled with lots of
great laughs while delivering a very important
message as the characters, one by one, reveal their
actual physical appearances at the very end of
the film, after both Hal and the audience have
gotten to know them for their true, beautiful selves.
How is the transfer?
What can I say other than this is a Fox DVD?
The transfer is wonderful, sporting a very clean
print that exhibits only a hint of video noise
in darker scenes. Colors peak out wonderfully --
especially Gwyneth Paltrow's pink dress. There
really is nothing negative I can say about the
quality of this transfer.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix gives the film's pop
soundtrack a nice punch. It's kind of cool to
hear Neil Young's "Goldrush" being played across
each of the channels. It is also the film's pop
music and score that puts out explosive LFE
channel bass that had my subwoofer pounding away
with each beat. The LFE channel is very aggressive
in this mix, and I miss such bass in some of the
more recent films I have reviewed. The rest of the
mix is dedicated to surround effects like crowd
noise that come off very nicely in the scenes inside
a nightclub or restaurant.
Special Features

Fox has put together as much extra material that
they could fit into one disc without even hailing
it as a Special Edition, despite the fact it has
very special content.

Once inserting the disc, you are treated to a
rather cool psychedelic animated sequence that
has character heads popping in and out of a
pinwheel background while audio clips from the
movie play in loop.
The DVD features a full-length commentary by
Directors Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly.

Being Shallow Hal, is not your typical
HBO promotional fluff-piece as it starts off
with host Brooke Burns interviewing people on a
Santa Monica promenade about what it means to
be "shallow". The featurette than becomes more
typical as we get the general overview of the
movie with lots of clips and videotaped interviews
with the likes of Bobby & Peter Farrelly, Jack
Black and Gwyneth Paltrow. Something everyone
will enjoy seeing is make-up Effects Designer
Tony Gardner explaining the make-up done on
Gwyneth. We are treated to actual videotape of
makeup tests that were done in a NY hotel room.
After she was made to look 300 pounds, she took
a walk through the hotel bar, where nobody made
eye contact with her. This turned out to be a
very sad and startling experience for the actress.
The rest of the featurette deals with behind-the-
camera antics that took place on the set as well
as the cast talking about how much they admired
working with each other.
(length: approx. 14 minutes)
Reel Comedy: Shallow Hall is a Comedy
Central featurette that gives a general overview
of the movie using clips and interviews. This
is more of a vehicle for Jack Black to joke around
about the movie, along with Tony Robbins, who
clown around about what happened during their
scenes together. Gwyneth joins in later as she
talks about how intimidated she felt about working
with Jack Black, but was surprised at how he made
her feel so comfortable. All in all, this
featurette adds no particular insight, becoming
a showcase for Jack Black to act silly.
(length: approx. 21 minutes)
No less than 11 Deleted Scenes can be
played back with or without commentary by the
Farrelly brothers. Some of which include:
* Hal fooling his co-workers into thinking he
just received a promotion.
* An extended scene at the health club where
a very funny joke involving Walt (Rene Kirby)
on a treadmill was ultimately cut.
* A scene with Walt (Rene Kirby)singing in a
country bar.
* A scene in the park where Hal and Maurice
fight with each other.
The Farrelly brothers explain that most of
the material was cut simply because they tend
to write very long scenes. Their movies also
tend to become up to 3.5 hours in length, and
they are faced with cutting lots of material
out of it after screening it to test audiences.
DO play the commentary during these deleted
scenes as it's VERY funny.

The most interesting added feature on this disc
comes in Seeing through the make-up where
make-up Effects Designer Tony Garner walks us
through the process of turning slim Paltrow into
a 300-lb woman. Initial problems with her makeup
hid the characteristics of the actress. The make-up
artists wanted to bring out Gwyneth's own natural
features through the suit and make-up. Using pictures
of heavy nude models, the makeup team was able to
get an idea of how to design their ideal person.
One heavy self-confident female was brought on the
set to consult Gwyneth on how to properly portray
a heavy person. There's a really neat look at how
at how burn make-up was applied to a little girl
and the importance of not using the color red in
the makeup. I think you'll have a lot of fun
watching this make-up featurette.
(length: approx. 13 minutes)
In the deep end with Shallow Hal takes
us pool side as we learn how the gigantic splash
sequence was done using a hydraulic system and
different diving boards.
(length: approx. 2 minutes)
Shelby Slynne's Music Video, "Wall In Your
Heart" is included as well as a promo spot
for the original motion picture soundtrack.
In addition to the film's Theatrical Trailer,
there are trailers for Minority Report and
Unfaithful, as well as a film called The
Banger Sisters with Goldie Hawn looking like
her daughter. A promo trailer for Farrelly
Brothers films on DVD is also presented.
Final Thoughts
You know, for a title such as this that comes
simply packaged, I just spent about 4 hours
going through all of the material on this
Shallow Hal DVD.
I would heavily (pun intended) recommend this
DVD just because the film is entertaining and
the supplements are fun to wade through.
Lots of fun to be had here for about $20 on-line.
Another quality release from Fox!
Release Date: July 2, 2002
 

Gavin_L

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
266
thanks ron for the wonderful review.
i will be picking up this dvd for sure, looks like fox has done another wonderful job putting out great dvds
 

Dave_P.

Supporting Actor
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May 20, 1999
Messages
983
I loved this flick and can't wait for the DVD! What's with the almost 9-month DVD window though???
 

Joshua Moran

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 11, 2000
Messages
502
What no DTS... Just kidding looks like a great disc and being a fan of Jack Black and Tenacious D I will have to pick this one up. Thanks for the great review.
 

MichaelG

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 10, 2000
Messages
322
I wanted to see this in the theaters, but my gilfriend and I never made it. I wish we didn't have to wait until July, but I expect that I will be buying this one.
 

Oscar

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 1, 2002
Messages
419
I also liked this movie.
But i found it less enjoyable than There is Something About Mary.

Yet i enjoyed it, i may pick this one up.
 

Michael Dueppen

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Sep 19, 2000
Messages
217
I have never really been interested in this movie since I thought it sounded kinda stupid.
But after your review I definitely changed my mind and I will probably pick this up.
Thanks for another great review, Ron.
 

Jenna

Second Unit
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Feb 12, 2002
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Real Name
Jeanette Howard
Thanks for the in-depth review, Ron. Was intending to rent it, but the amount of bonus material may make this one a "keeper".

I saw this at the theater with some of the girls, and we all agreed on one thing: it amazed us how Hal and his buddy would keep hitting on ONLY gorgeous women who were clearly "out of their league". (Did THEY never look in a mirror?)
 

Michael Silla

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
313
Simply put - this puppy is a no-brainer purchase. Even my good friend, who wouldn't normally watch a Farrelly brothers film or anything to do with Jack Black, absolutely loved this film.
I can't wait for this DVD.

Michael.
 

AndrewW

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Messages
141
Saw this in the theaters. Wasn't that impressed; too predictable. Would make a decent rental, but I wouldn't buy it.
 

Inspector Hammer!

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Location
Houston, Texas
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John Williamson
This is a no brainer for me, if Gwyneth Paltrow is in it, i'm all over it!

Besides it looks damn funny too.
One question though Ron, regarding the commentary track, do they go on endlessly about everyone they grew up with in Providence who they no doubt populated the film with as they always do? That's getting tired and I just wanted to see if you've had a chance to listen to a sample of it. Thanks.
 

Richard Travale

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I just watched this and I have to say it was great. It was funny like the other Farrelly Brothers movies but it was also tender. I even got pretty choked up at a few parts.
I recommend this to anyone
 

Jeremy Anderson

Screenwriter
Joined
Nov 23, 1999
Messages
1,049
Great review, Ron. Picked it up based on your review, and am pretty pleased... though the second half of the movie pixelated every 5 seconds and the sound kept stuttering. Nothing visibly wrong with the disc, so maybe I just got a bad one. We'll see when I get another copy of it today.
 

Michael Silla

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 27, 2001
Messages
313
Got my copy of this last night. Again, it was a wonderful film that will please both guys and gals alike. The video transfer on this disc looks really good on my Hitachi - the audio mix just as Ron said has alot of "punch" to it. With this type of film, I could care less if the disc doesn't include a DTS track
.
Michael.
 

Stephen Orr

Screenwriter
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Mar 14, 1999
Messages
1,099
My 500th post!

My son and I watched the rented DVD of this last night. Great movie and not nearly as gross-out as other Farrelly movies. Even the "fat" jokes were there not to offend, but to prove a point. The disabled actor/characters are handled with respect. And when Jack goes back to the hospital to find Rose and sees the little girl Candace, well, I even felt an honest tear in my eye.... We really enjoyed it.

We did notice a buzz in the dialogue of one scene, however, as Jack and Rosemary are standing outside his place. The buzz went away during the following scene.

Otherwise, this could be the first Farrelly Bros. movie I actually buy...
 

Clint

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 22, 1999
Messages
174
Want to purchase but what are the odds that they will come up with a special edition down the line?

Anybody?
 

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