Shallow Hal | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Shallow Hal 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Writer-directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly (There's Something About Mary; Me, Myself & Irene) have been steadily eroding the filmmaking conventions that make work for good-looking actors, in part by exploiting our eagerness to gawk at freaks just as we gaze at gods and goddesses. Pointedly casting a character actor (Jack Black) as Hal, an average guy who's determined to date only exceptionally attractive women, the Farrellys reveal the deep, dark secret behind his aesthetic--that it's arbitrary--and nestle this insight in layers of comedy. Hypnotized by a well-meaning stranger, Hal comes to see spiritual beauty as physical beauty, and in this state he falls for Rosemary, a fat woman played with considerable nuance (and crafty point-of-view shots) by willowy Gwyneth Paltrow. If there's hypocrisy in the Farrellys' premise--teaching us to look at a thin person and imagine a fat one when for Hal the lesson works the other way--their great achievement is forcing those of us addicted to eye candy to see we have a problem. 113 min. Burnham Plaza, Century 12 and CineArts 6, Chatham 14, City North 14, Crown Village 18, Ford City, Gardens 7-13, Lake, Lawndale, Lincoln Village 1-6, Norridge, 600 N. Michigan, 62nd & Western, Village.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Lisa Alspector

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Guards at the Taj Steppenwolf Theatre
June 13
Performing Arts
Not One Batu Berger Park Cultural Center
July 04

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories