Shallow Hal (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Trailer-Ice Age; Joe Somebody; Black Knight
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 109:01 (Case: 113)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bobby Farrelly
Peter Farrelly

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow
Jack Black
Jason Alexander
Joe Viterelli
Susan Ward
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Ivy

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, ah...this is a Farrelly movie.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Farrelly brothers have a reputation for being responsible for some of the most offensive, least politically correct comedy to come out of Hollywood in the last 10 years. In some ways, Shallow Hal is a move away from that type of comedy, while in others it is still quite capable of being deeply offensive to a portion of the population. At its heart, Shallow Hal is a sweet romantic comedy about a man named Hal (Jack Black) who is told by his dying father to ignore love and simply choose women based on their looks. Years later, he is not having much luck in attracting pretty women, and his friends are amazed that he can be such a nice guy yet only be interested in women based on their looks. At that point, he bumps into (real life) motivational guru Tony Robbins who, unbeknown to Hal, hypnotises him to see people based on their inner beauty, not their exterior. It is at this point that he meets Rosemary Shanahan (Gwyneth Paltrow), who seems to Hal to be the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. The reality, as seen by Hal's friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander), is that Rosemary is a very, very large, and not at all pretty, woman. Hal has to wrestle with whether or not he is happy with the wonderful woman that Rosemary is, or if he will go back to his shallow ways.

    While the message that this film is trying to get across - that a person's inner beauty and personality are far better reasons to choose a partner than their looks - the way it goes about it is not that clever. While the aim is noble, there is much here that could be quite offensive to people who are overweight. It must be remembered however that this is not unusual for a Farrelly movie. There have also been many critics of this movie because it suggests that "ugly" people can only find romance with other similarly beauty-challenged people. While this is actually quite heavily suggested by Shallow Hal, the sad fact is that for the most part it is simply a reflection of reality. The world we live in is very driven around body image, with those that are fit and good looking being the greatest objects of desire. It is this idea that is actually being challenged by Shallow Hal, and to do so it must show the world as it is. Certainly it would have been more effective if the casting had been somewhat better - Hal could have been a drop-dead gorgeous guy for instance - and it is in this regard that the Farrellys let themselves down.

    In general, Shallow Hal works very well as it presents what really is a sweet romantic comedy that features a round of very good performances. Jack Black is good as the shallow Hal who cannot see the wrong in his ways, and the supporting cast are all very good. The real stand-out here, however, is Gwyneth Paltrow who shows that, regardless of what people might think of her after her best actress acceptance speech, she is really an incredible actress. She brings a sweetness and vulnerability to the beautiful version of Rosemary that is completely in line with the large woman she is really playing, and she manages to pull it off while looking more stunningly beautiful than in any film she has appeared in before. The only sour note to the casting here (or maybe it is perfect casting) is Jason Alexander who plays Mauricio as a virtual clone of his Seinfeld character, George Costanza, even down to the way in which he complains about his women.

    Shallow Hal is a very enjoyable movie that is far less a gross-out comedy than previous Farrelly movies, and far more a romantic comedy with a twist. However, a warning must be issued that, as with all other Farrelly brothers' movies, it does have the potential to be quite offensive to people who are so inclined.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer presented for Shallow Hal is of extremely high quality. There are very few problems with the transfer whatsoever - and they are all, without exception, minor.

    The transfer is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is very good. It does have a slightly "polished" feel to it that dulls the sharpness a little, but overall it is still very easy to make out even the smallest detail. Impressively, there is no obvious grain present at all, lending the image a marked clarity often lacking in instances where background grain is present. Shadow detail is likewise excellent, and on the few occasions that the action takes place in less than fully bright locations, there are no problems with characters disappearing into darkness. There is no low level noise present.

    Colours are very good, displaying the necessary changes in environment from outdoor to indoors without any problems at all.

    There are only a very few artefacts present in this transfer, and none are particularly obvious. There are no compression artefacts at all, and only a very few instances of mild aliasing, such as on the edge of the rowboat from 45:26 until 45:31. Similarly, there are only a very few visible film artefacts, such as at 51:50, and all are minor. Probably the worst sequence for film artefacts in the transfer is between 42:51 and 42:55 where a number of small artefacts fleck the image.

    The subtitles are quite accurate, are well paced, and generally do not affect the comedic impact of the dialogue.

    This is a single layered disc, and as such does not have a layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is a very good audio transfer, and is the best Farrelly brothers soundtrack yet. It certainly will not set the world on fire, but for a dialogue-driven comedy, it is top notch.

    There is only a single audio track present on this disc, being the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 Kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. The ambient sound effects and the score never affect the dialogue, and are nicely mixed in with one another. There are no problems with audio sync in this transfer.

    The musical accompaniment to Shallow Hal can be divided into two categories, being the score music provided by New York trio Ivy and a collection of contemporary songs. The score is not particularly notable, albeit being composed by a jazz/pop band rather than a cinematic composer, and largely stays unnoticed (suggesting it does its job well). The contemporary songs have a fair amount of success, only seeming off on the odd occasion, and in general enhance the interaction with the movie.

    The surrounds are largely used to carry the score, but on many occasions are also used for ambient sound. While their use is neither consistent, nor constant, there is enough use of ambient surround to justify the use of 5.1 channels over and above spreading the score. There are no directional sound effects in this movie at all.

    The subwoofer only comes to life to back up the score, otherwise sitting dormant. During the club scenes however, it does come in handy.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Continuing the trend for Fox rental titles, there are no movie-specific extras present on this disc.


    This is the standard Fox rental menu, featuring the Fox logo with a superimposed image of the movie's poster. It is static and features no audio.

Preview Trailers (7:18)

    These run automatically when the disc is inserted. They are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, are not 16x9 enhanced (various aspect ratios as noted) and feature trailers for Ice Age (1.85:1), Joe Somebody (1.33:1), and Black Knight (1.85:1). They can be skipped (by pressing the menu key) for those who are not interested.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     While it is somewhat unfair to compare a rental disc to a fully featured sell through disc, the R1 is the clear winner here for now.


    Shallow Hal is an enjoyable movie that represents somewhat of a change of pace for the Farrelly brothers. It is presented on what is a technically excellent DVD.

    The video quality is extremely good, and there are only a very few, minor, problems.

    The audio quality is also extremely good, and could only be improved by a slightly more consistent use of ambient surround.

    As with most Fox rental discs, this one is completely devoid of film-specific extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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