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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  • 11 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • 4 Featurette
  • Music video

Shallow Hal: SE

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 108 mins . M15+ . PAL


Shallow Hal is the type of film that once it has been watched, you think “hmm…ok,” then wake up the next morning and forget you have ever seen it. There are no lasting impressions from it; almost everything in the movie seems somewhat tame and has an unresponsive quality to it. The Farrelly brothers have come up with some absolutely hilarious pieces in the past, including Dumb & Dumber, Me, Myself & Irene, and of course the brilliant There’s Something About Mary. But I’m sorry to say that Shallow Hal just isn’t in the same playing field as the others.

The story is simple, yet it contains a potential plethora of “political correctness” time bombs. This is probably one of the reasons the film lacks impact; the story has to have a heart warming ending or it will not be accepted by the majority of moviegoers. Hal Larson (Jack Black) is a nice guy in every respect except for the methodology he uses to pick the women in his life. He believes that true beauty is only skin deep, and uses this ideal on the dance floor when stalking his prey. The majority of Hal’s social morals (or rather lack of them) can be mostly attributed to his father’s parting words with him when he was on his deathbed telling him to always aim for the best looking women. This tactic has never seemed to work for Hal, yet he continues trying and trying. His best friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander) is from the same ilk as Hal with very similar ideals, and is just as unlucky in love. One of the better parts of the film is the relationship between these two fellows.

"You Had Me At "Get lost"."

One day, just after a berating from his co workers, he has a chance meeting in an elevator with Anthony Robbins, a motivational speaker and self help therapist (who plays himself). After hearing of his extremely shallow ways, he takes it upon himself to hypnotise Hal so that he only sees the “inner” beauty of women rather than the “outer”. From that moment onwards, Hal sees the less attractive women on the street as total knockouts, and this is where he meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow). In Hal’s freshly converted eyes she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, yet in reality she is actually rather large and not very physically attractive. He instantly falls for her, and thinks that he may have found his perfect match. Hal eventually finds out what Rosemary really looks like, and this is where the moral side of the film comes to the fore; will he choose to stay with her or move back to his old ways?

The film is mostly (though not entirely) devoid of the usual Farrelly brothers grotesque humour. Since this is their first real attempt on a story of moral value, they seem to have decided to mellow it out so as not to offend anyone and open it up to a wider audience. Unfortunately, this decision seems to have left the film with a very flat feel to it. Half of the laughs from There’s Something About Mary and nearly all from Me, Myself & Irene originated from shock humour, and due to its absence in this film there are many less laughs than the other films.

The performances are in general quite good. Black seems to fit into his role very well. He is particularly good when portraying the “shallow” Hal, but seems to falter a little in his performance in the last quarter of the film when he is required to become more sentimental and emotional. Paltrow was probably the standout of the cast, doing a good job portraying an overweight woman in an attractive woman’s body. Jason Alexander does well in his role also, but it is so hard to not think of him as George Costanza.


The video quality is in general very good. The transfer is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. It is a very sharp display throughout, and the detail is brilliant. There is no softness or loss of focus at all. There is also no grain present at any stage, and only a few minor film artefacts pop up. As for film to video artefacts, there are a couple of instances of very minor aliasing that are hardly noticeable and only detract from the transfer very minimally.

The colours are well saturated and vibrant. At no stage are they washed out, and skin tones are spot on. Shadow detail is good, but there are only a few scenes that are shot in the shadows, the vast majority are in brightly lit areas. There are no compression artefacts in the transfer. The disc is single sided and RSDL formatted with the layer change occurring at 54:55. The interruption is minimal and is placed in between scenes. There are plenty of subtitles available, and the English one is very accurate and well presented.


There is one audio track available on the disc and it is in English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Like the video transfer, the audio is also of a very good standard. The dialogue mixing is well done, at no point is there any dialogue that can not be understood easily. There are no audio synch problems present.

The surrounds are used every now and again to good effect, particularly in creating an ambient setting in the outdoor scenes. The subwoofer is employed in much the same way, helping to present the normal sounds of the film with some ‘meat’ and backing up the score well. The score does its job well, supporting the on-screen emotion quite competently. It was set by a group known as Ivy, and is mostly a collection of contemporary songs.


There are quite a few extras presented on this Special Edition of the film...

Audio Commentary - Presented by the Farrelly brothers, some interesting details are revealed on the film in this scene specific feature length audio commentary. It can at times become a little tedious, but overall it is worth having a listen to.

HBO Special: Being Shallow Hal - Presented in full frame and in Dolby Digital 2.0, this is a short (14 minute) featurette hosted by Brooke Burns of Baywatch fame. It is essentially Brooke walking around interviewing people on the street in Hollywood asking them about what they think being shallow is. Throw in some scenes from the film and a short look at how Gwyneth Paltrow put on the fat suit, and that is about it. Only worth one viewing.

Reel Comedy: Shallow Hal - Presented in full frame and in Dolby Digital 2.0, this is a 20 minute featurette that is basically useless. Don’t watch it before you view the film, as it gives away nearly all of the plot. It is almost like taking the audience’s hand and leading them through an abridged form of the film. Not really worth watching.

In at the Deep End, With Shallow Hal - Presented in full frame and in Dolby Digital 2.0, this is a very short look at the special effects of the pool scene in the film.

Seeing Through the Layers - Presented in full frame and in Dolby Digital 2.0, this presents a more in depth look at the technical side of Gwyneth Paltrow’s fat suit. Also, there is an interview with the body double for Paltrow that is quite interesting.

Original Theatrical Trailer - Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

Deleted Scenes - 11 deleted scenes, all presented in 1.85:1 but not 16x9 enhanced, and in Dolby Digital 2.0. These can be viewed either with or without audio commentary.

Music Video - The song is Wall in Your Heart by Shelby Lynne. It is presented in full frame and is in Dolby Digital 2.0.


The message that the film is trying to get across to the viewer is a noble one, but it ultimately fails to give any impact whatsoever. The transfer itself is very well done, particularly the video. The film is worth watching once if you are a comedy fan, but it is nothing to get excited about at all. I honestly hope the Farrelly brothers go back to doing what they do best: making crude and hilarious films with a big impact.

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      And I quote...
    "Shallow Hal is definitely not your usual Farrelly brothers film; there's very little in the way of crude and shock humour, which is really what they do best."
    - Robert Mack
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE475
    • Speakers:
    • Centre Speaker:
    • Surrounds:
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony Active Superwoofer
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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