Single friends Hal (Jack Black) and Mauricio (Jason Alexander) insist on dating beautiful women, but under hypnosis Hal’s perception of beauty changes to see inner beauty rather than physical perfection. When he falls in love with 300-pound Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), a very kind and caring young woman, Hal sees her with all the physical attributes of, well, Gwyneth Paltrow. SHALLOW HAL’s unrealistic, exaggerated portrayal of overweight people will make many viewers uncomfortable. Watching Rosemary stuffing her mouth, breaking chairs and wearing a bikini bathing suit just isn’t funny.
Hal’s shallowness appears to be from the example set by his preacher father, whose dying words stress in crude terms the importance of a well-shaped woman. The message contrasting superficial beauty with the beauty of a good heart is not subtle, but the film does tug an occasional heartstring. However, the film also implies premarital sex as a normal part of dating and Rosemary flaunts her flabby body in a bikini bathing suit, short skirts and thong underwear several times. Crude and obscene language further spoils the film. Crude sexual content, obscenities and Christian bashing cancel SHALLOW HAL’s messages about true beauty being more than skin deep.