7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Funny, ironic, and oddly enough thought-provoking,
This review is from: Shallow Hal [VHS]  (VHS Tape)
What you get out of "Shallow Hal" probably depends on how you watch it. You could just coast along, brain in neutral, and enjoy the gags and comic situations. On this level, it's a very successful movie - hardly a minute goes by without something funny happening, or (from time to time) a moment of pathos.
Or you could pause a moment to absorb the moral message - never mind physical appearances, concentrate on the beauty (or ugliness) within. That's more or less valid, up to a point, and lets you reinforce your amusement with satisfying feelings of moral superiority. Just the thought that a beautiful girl (and there are plenty of them in "Shallow Hal") could somehow be lurking inside someone who looks plain at first sight, might be enough to stimulate a new interest in wallflowers.
Most fun, though, for those who are that way inclined, is to analyze the message to death! You get all the scope in the world. For instance, how come Hal sees dozens of "inward beauties", but only one physically good-looking woman who is an "inward hag"? And how come he seems to go on seeing his friends just as they always were? And why doesn't he suspect something when, as the girl of his dreams approaches him stark naked and playfully throws her panties at his head, what he catches is something about the size of a bell tent? Come to that, how does he even survive the ensuing grapple?
OK, a little of that sort of thinking goes a long way, and a lot of you are probably annoyed with me already. So, to close the loop, here's one last question that set me meditating for quite a while - if Hal can't help seeing people as they really are, is there any merit in his behaviour? Intuitively no, but after all couldn't virtue be just the natural result of seeing people clearly?..