Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder... This phrase is theoretical and definitely not practical in the sense that you wouldn't start seeing people with scars as ultra- beautiful models and really fat people (no-offense meant) as ultra-thin models. Well, in Shallow Hal, Bobby & Peter Farrelly certainly think that hypnotising someone or "altering their perspective" can really make someone see the inner beauty.
Hal Larsen (Jack Black) as a kid promised his dying father that he will never settle for the second best woman. This final speech of his dad just before his death traumatises Hal forever and leaves him emotionally impaired (incapable of appreciating the inner beauty). But Jack is not the only one who is like that (most men are...), his best friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander) is equally fixated about the "perfect" girl. Always running behind gorgeous women, who are out of their leagues, leaves them wondering where they are going wrong, but they refuse to let go of their judgmental attitude. One fine day, Hal has a chance encounter with the self-help guru Tony Robbins (Anthony Robbins) who "alters Hal's perspective" and changes his life forever. Suddenly Hal starts hanging out with women who do not fit his "criteria", and that's when he meets Rosemary Shanahan (Gwyneth Paltrow). Rosemary is beautiful, is in the peace-corps, works at a children's hospital...basically she is a beautiful person; the only catch is that she is a large person weighing 300 pounds. Everyone can see that except Hal. Is he just pretending because Rosie's dad is his boss Mr. Steve Shanahan (Joe Viterelli)? Or has he really changed for good?
The whole concept of a man getting hypnotised into believing that the women in front of him are extremely beautiful is really shallow and lame but the point that the makers are trying to put across is quite clear- Inner beauty must be appreciated. The whole speech which Tony Robbins gives to Mauricio about how our definitions are based on what media has fed us is pretty good. Gwyneth Paltrow has done a fabulous job and she brings some soul to the film. Jack Black is as usual totally himself and hilarious. Jason Alexander from Seinfeld is pretty good too.
The movie is a sit-at-home-and-relax kind of a movie. It doesn't make much sense, has a very lose premise and banks on slapsticks comedy at times but it still manages to get some giggles out of you. A feel-good movie for a lazy afternoon.