Cinema: Shallow Hal

Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Hal (Jack Black), a cheerful boor in denial about the foxy women who deny him, meets a heavenly being (motivational flack Tony Robbins!) who lets Hal see the beauty of homely women--to him, the hippopotamic Rosemary looks like Gwyneth Paltrow. This fable, with its Shrek-like conceit, could be the Farrellys' mission statement about their fascination with human eccentricities: retardation in There's Something About Mary, albinism in Me, Myself & Irene, obesity, spinal bifida and vestigial tails here. We mock, they say, because we care. But that doesn't make the film elevating or amusing. Torpor sticks to the actors' feet like gum...

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