Movie reviews: “Shallow Hal”

The reaction of critics to Shallow Hal is about as extreme as the
changes in Gwyneth Paltrow‘s body size during the movie.

A.O. Scott in
the New York Times concludes that the Farrelly brothers have
“cunningly transform[ed] a series of fat jokes…into a tender fable
and a winning love story.”

Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times
begins his review this way: “The Farrelly brothers’ Shallow
is the darndest thing. As unexpected as Yasser Arafat suddenly
breaking into a chorus of “My Yiddishe Mama,” this staggeringly earnest,
wholly sentimental film about seeing beyond surface appearances comes
from filmmakers you’d hardly expect to persistently appeal to our better

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie in the Atlanta
concludes: that watching stars Jack Black and
Paltrow “is a wonderful case of good acting enhanced by good chemistry
enhanced by good writing and directing. The Farrelly brothers have done
themselves proud with this movie. They’ve shown us their inner beauty.”

On the other hand, Gary Thompson in the Philadelphia Daily News
writes that the movie “delves with insane bravado into the treacherous
currents that swirl around beauty, weight, and women. It’s a brave
attempt, and also a failure.”

Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street
has a much harsher judgment: “The jokes are mostly dismal;
the payoff is smarmy (it involves Jason Alexander as Hal’s haplessly
lustful buddy); the direction is perfunctory; and the lead performances
are tentative at best.”

Tom Maurstad in the Dallas Morning News
sees the film as something of a metaphor about the movie business
itself: “Hollywood making a movie that lectures audiences to judge
people on the content of their character and not the shape of their skin
is a joke. Unfortunately, as Shallow Hal proves, it’s not a very
funny joke.”

Check out the review of Shallow Hal here!