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Shallow Hal


All about inner beauty ... ``Shallow Hal''.

IF BLACK is beautiful, and blondes are not dumb then fat, better still obese, is not such a bad deal at all! In fact, if you look into the soul and mind there is a truly gorgeous person inside that shell, which puts a hippo to shame. So then what a person looks on the outside need not necessarily be what he/she is really or so 20th Century Fox Presentation, ``Shallow Hal," would have us believe. What is more, the film advises one not to be brainwashed by TV, magazines and other media which make us believe that beauty is everything. So how do you drive home the lesson that a lovely person inside matters more than what appears on the outside? It also brings to focus that themes of different kinds are always being used on screen by scriptwriters and directors from Hollywood. There is no story, no idea that is passed up.

For every realistic film on war or life there is a ghost story or a fantasy that exists in the mind and is then translated onto celluloid with much ease and conviction. There is no barrier to examining issues with a dose of magic to drive home a point fearing that outspokenness may not go down too well with an audience, which very often, is rather blasé. So imagine if there is a mixture of comedy and a bit of the abracadabra to point out some very basic truths about people and relationships? You had Mel Gibson in ``What Women Want" being able to read the minds of women after a quirk of fate. Funny, but actually tried to drive home some truths about men and their perceptions of women. And now you have Shallow Hal (not half as nicely made), telling audiences what true beauty means! Hal Larsen (Jack Black) and his buddy Mauricio (Jason Alexander) are two, tubby lot who hound the club circuit in search of the perfect beauty. Hal finds them in the kind of girls you would see in the magazines and on centrefolds. The first thing he looks for in a woman is well, looks. Obviously he won't consider dating someone who does not have a perfect body, smile and sense of style. But then he is really an average guy who is unsuccessful in his pursuit of the gorgeous gals. Mauricio is even shallower than Hal. He is affable, funny and a cad. He breaks up with his latest babe because of her overlong second toe. But then they have to learn lessons in life about love, inner beauty and real feelings.

So fate arranges Hal to be stuck in an elevator without power along with a self-help, guru Tony Robbins, who casts a kind of hypnotic spell over Hal to make him see the radiant beauty within every woman. Now his view of women makes a 180-degree turn and situations develop when he sees what his new sense of aesthetics tells him.

Enter Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) an over weight peace corps volunteer who is funny, nice and very intelligent and more important who appears as a svelte beauty to Hal.

A romance begins with a completely disbelieving Rosemary and the under-the-spell Hal. Life cannot continue under delusions, can it? The spell has to be broken and reality has to be faced which is what the rest of the film is about. If you like the Dumb And Dumber, There's Something About Mary, and Me, Myself and Irene, kind of humour then there is every chance you will enjoy this film. A comedy laced with some degree of pain, if you chance to see it!

Directors Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly (known for their particular comedy style), insist that beneath their outrageous cinematic antics lie a heart and characters that audiences would root for.

They have introduced Walt (Kirby) a happy-go-lucky guy with the Midas touch who takes things as they come including the fact that he has a co-genital disorder in which the spinal column is imperfectly closed. They got Kirby to do this role that happens to be someone born with a spinal disorder. He walks on all fours - and subsequently has a pumped up upper torso and massive arms and is an expert skier and prize-winning gymnast in real life.

CHITRA MAHESH

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