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Shallow Hal



Starring:
Jack Black, Gwenyth Paltrow and Jason Alexander
Directed: By Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Rated:PG-13

Shallow Hal's name says it all! It's a movie about "one of those" guys who thinks he's God's personal gift to women, that looks only at the size of the implants or waistline while perusing women. But this Hal chap is in for some well-needed psychological reworking.

Sure, there's going to be protest about the politically incorrectness of deeming women with the big-boned-and-beyond as less than hot attractive feline specimens. But, let's face it, we love beauty and sveltness here in America (and France) and we worship attractive specimens! And that includes women and their perspective on manly-men too. We can be just as shallow…not myself mind you…

Which brings me to what I think was a clever ploy from the Farrelly Bros; they took Jack Black, a bulbous mini-featured dweeb-like quazi-man and had him play the shallowest man of all (Hal), but with that all-too-often-the-case personality flaw where the dweeb actually believes himself to not only be attractive to women, but an present from the angels, a gift from god. If they cast a stud-muffin like say, George Clooney or mega-pretty-boy- Brad Pitt, or even twice Farrelly'ed gettin' hotter with age, Jim Carrey, as the obnoxious Hal, the audience would be throwing stuff at the screen…but they didn't! Jack Black oozes obnoxiousness so well…and we all know at least one of these mutants ourselves so we are less hostile as the story unfolds.

We meet Hal (Jack- looking less obtuse of late-Black) and his best friend Mauricio (Jason —boy, am lucky I got on Seinfeld—Alexander) both are dancing (I guess) in a club, forcing their bad ritual-like mate finding techniques on the suffering womenfolk. Hal's an exceptionally bubonic jerk. He's fat, excuse me heavyset, dresses bad and needs a good pluck between the brows…but who noticed. Of course he thinks he's a stud-o-matic stuck on full throttle (oh how we women suffer as there are so many versions of this man species roaming wild in the streets). The two never really score and, naturally, blame the rudeness of the beautiful on their own follies.

Then Hal gets stuck in an elevator with self-help giant (pun intended) Anthony Robbins (as himself). Anthony hypnotizes Hal allowing the putrid manpod to see the inner beauty of gals. Now it's not whether they're a size 16+, or have a hook nose that would make Barbara Streisand look like she's had rhinoplasty that Hal sees, but the glowing inner beauty these outwardly socially ostracized women have in hidden their souls. In other words all he sees are gorgeous women…Hollywood thin, model types (so technically he's still shallow no? There's not a "normal" gal among the cast...).

Then he meets the girl of his dreams; wafer thin Rosey (Gwenyth -laser thin- Paltrow). But, as the writers Sean Moynihan and the Farrellys have set up, Hal doesn't see Rosey's rotund Volkswagon Beetle-ish 300+ pound frame, complete with cankles (calves s that have no definition and blend into the ankle - it's in the film), he sees a lanky thin Rosey.

Hal's falling for Rosie, and his best friend, Mauricio, who's not hypnotized, is freaking… He must help his happy friend! Hal must be unhypnotized and see the "hippo" he's dating before it's too late and he's hopelessly, mindlessly in love with someone for something other than their rack! Hardeeharha.

About now you're wishing it was a handsome cast as Hal and Mauricio because it starts to grate on your nerves that these two gnats have the audacity to think themselves even one mill inch above these less-than-gorgeous women we, the audience sees. You don't believe these two could be so delusional, they certainly own a mirror don't they?

Hal and Mauricio are more like caricatures of lounge lizard men with the perpetual selection of pens in their breast pocket. They are so unbelievable you lose your suspension of belief early on and start to stuff your face like a Pig-a-snaurus Rex, inhaleatroning on everything from the econ- size Junior Mints box, to a plutonium butter mix sprayed mega-bucket of popcorn just to stay awake!

Okay, we all know we judge- let's face it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, sure, but what we "behold" is pumped into us by high paid market analysts and bad fashion designers that clothes styles only hang well on the terribly anorexic. We're not really to blame, we are conditioned! The point is made that being shallow isn't where it's at Jack…but then why not cast one normal looking gal in with the stable of paper thin, glamour cats Hal's hypno-eyes fall upon if you're really trying to give your audience a moral lesson boys? Hmm?

Bottom line, Shallow Hal has a great comedy premise but is a lousy movie. Dear god I thought it would never end! It's just not that funny and the shtick gets old fast. The Farrelly Brothers are usually refreshingly politically incorrect, and have a special knack for zeroing in on someone's flaw. Heck, I'm all for for a good laugh at another's expense, comedy is mean! But with Shallow Hal, the laughs are all in the trailer. Even when they tried to shock us with the Spina Bifida man running around on all fours - daring us to laugh and be cruel, it just seemed trite and canned not light and fluffy comedy like say the infamous zippered penis from Something About Mary, or Jeff Daniels' flaring diarrhea in Dumb and Dumber...I just expect more, damn them!

Snack Recommendation: Banana Finger tarts and a whole heapin' helpin' of chili fries

 

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