Shallow Hal: Special Edition (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 10-Sep-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Featurette-HBO Special
Featurette-Coomedy Central's Reel Comedy: Shallow Hal
Deleted Scenes-11 +/- commentary
Featurette-Seeing Through The Layers
Featurette-In At The Deep End, With Shallow Hal
Music Video-Wall In Your Heart-Shelby Lynne
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 109:06
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Peter Farrelly
Bobby Farrelly

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Jack Black
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jason Alexander
Joe Viterelli
Bruce McGill
Susan Ward
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Ivy

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/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 Croatian
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes, by the ugly characters of course!
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, there is a (very) short post-credits segment.

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

Plot Synopsis

    This is the second time that I have looked at Shallow Hal for review purposes. You can read my original take on the movie from the review of the rental release.

    As far as second impressions go (in fact, as I saw this movie theatrically, so it is actually my third viewing), this movie is at once easier to watch again than previous Farrelly brothers movies, and not as enticing a proposition. The reason is that Shallow Hal, unlike the previous output from the brothers, relies more on script and situations to create its comedy, and as such has less moments that create humour out of shock. This means that on repeat viewings, the humour still works very well. Additionally, the performance of Gwyneth Paltrow becomes more impressive with repeat viewings, to the extent that I now think it could well be her most impressive performance to date.

    The down side however, is that this is still most certainly a Farrelly brothers movie - and as such holds less anticipation in the watching than some of their other efforts. The more toned-down nature also means that there are less "classic" scenes in this, and that makes it less memorable than many of the other projects from the Farrellys. In the end, the decision as to whether or not to pick this one up when it comes out of its rental window is not an easy one. While it will certainly be of interest to those collecting Farrelly brothers movies, others are advised to rent before buying.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality of this transfer is extremely good. It is difficult to work out if it is the same transfer as the rental, although the film artefacts occur in the same locations so it may well be.

    Presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is excellent - all fine detail fairly leaps off the screen, and there are no instances where it could be considered soft. There is no grain at all, however there is quite a bit of what may be edge enhancement. As the shots are outdoors, it is most likely back-lighting, however as it occurs on every angle, the back-lighting argument may not hold. Either way, the characters are often framed by bright nimbuses. Shadow detail is just as good as the sharpness, and the few dark scenes there are come through very nicely. There is no low level noise present.

    Colours are excellent. The highlights are bright, but without impacting on the rest of the picture. The costumes worn by the women are especially good in this regard, and this is probably the most visually pleasing Farrelly brothers movie yet.

    There are no compression artefacts at all in this transfer. There are a number of instances of aliasing, but only a few, such as at 45:30 to 45:32 are easily noticeable. There are a number of tiny film artefacts, and also a few, such as the one on the doctor's jaw at 0:59 that are not so tiny, however for the most part they are not an intrusion.

    The subtitles are very close to the spoken word, only leaving a few of the more superfluous words out on occasion. This is one of the better subtitle tracks on a comedy DVD.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 54:55 between Chapters 16 and 17. It is placed on a scene change, and does not break any dialogue or score, but the cessation of ambient noise still makes it obvious.

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


    The audio transfer presented here appears to be a little worse than the rental transfer, although it is very close - so that impression may be a trick of my imagination.

    There are two audio tracks present on this disc, being the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 Kbps), and an English audio commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 96 Kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand for the most part - there are no issues with the mixing levels, or the dialogue placement. There are a few problematic occasions, such as at the fountain from around 8:28, but as the brothers explain, in this instance the scene was originally looped but looked so bad looped that the original dialogue was re-inserted. The audio sync is very good, being spot-on for the duration of the movie - probably assisted by the lack of looping.

    The score consists of the specifically composed music by jazz/pop trio Ivy and a collection of contemporary songs. The contemporary songs are unusually effective in Shallow Hal, eliciting just the right moods and feelings when used. The score itself is by no means memorable, however it at least does its job and generally stays out of the way.

    Surround presence is surprisingly good for a movie of this genre. The surround channels are used not only to carry a lot of the score and other music, but they also provide a surprisingly large amount of ambient noise. Outdoor scenes are filled with birds chirping, and the wind whistling, while indoor scenes generally change to match the location. While there is not much in the way of flashy directional noise, the surround nature of the soundtrack is still very impressive.

    Obviously, as there are no explosions or anything else of that nature, the subwoofer is not going to have an enormous job, but it does well enough with what it has, largely backing up the score, and providing punch to the few scenes that call for it.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras presented here, while not brilliant, are still a nice accompaniment to the film.


    The menu is animated, themed around the movie, 16x9 enhanced, and features a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio accompaniment.

Audio Commentary - Peter and Bobby Farrelly (Directors)

    This is a fairly typical Farrelly brothers commentary, in that they point out every single distant relative or long-lost friend of their dog trainer's sister's midget cousin's masseuse that they have used in the film. While this can become tedious at times, they do still manage to impart some interesting information during the commentary. It is really a case of watch it to see if you can take it.

Featurette: HBO Special: Being Shallow Hal (13:55)

    As is to be expected, this is basically an extended advertisement for the film, but it also includes some vox-pop work asking people how shallow they can be, as well as some behind-the-scenes glimpses of Gwyneth Paltrow and her fatsuit. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette: Reel Comedy: Shallow Hal (21:03)

    Is it just me, or are these Reel Comedy specials from the Comedy Central network simply the worst EPK-style shows ever produced? This is twenty minutes of absolutely nothing useful that you would not be able to find out by watching the movie, and if you haven't seen the movie then it gives away virtually everything there is to give away. Don't bother. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette: Seeing Through The Layers (12:06)

    Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this is the most interesting of the featurettes. It looks at the body suits created for Gwyneth Paltrow and how they were applied, as well as the reaction of "real" people to the much larger Paltrow. It also includes an interview with Paltrow's somewhat larger body double, and small sections on some of the other de-glamorised women in the movie.

Featurette: In at the Deep End, With Shallow Hal (2:22)

    Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this featurette looks at one of the other special effects in the movie - the water bomb scene. Obviously from the short run-time, there is not a lot of information here, but what is presented is certainly interesting enough.

Deleted Scenes (25:34)

    There are 11 deleted scenes available as follows:     All are presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and feature two Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio tracks, being the production audio and commentary tracks. These commentary tracks are a little better than that of the main feature, although they do suffer to some extent from the same problem. In general it seems these scenes were cut (or trimmed) for good reason, although some are still genuinely funny in their own right.

Music Video: Shelby Lynne - Wall in your Heart (3:23)

    Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track, this is a typical music video - great if you like Shelby Lynne, not so good otherwise.

Theatrical Trailer (2:00)

    Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this trailer is actually quite good at selling the movie.

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;     The features here are essentially equal, so unless language is a barrier, pick it up where you find it cheapest.


    Shallow Hal is a funny movie that features an outstanding performance from Gwyneth Paltrow. While it may not be the greatest of the Farrelly Brothers' output, it is still a good night's entertainment.

    The video quality is excellent, with only some minor aliasing and some tiny film artefacts to reduce its effect.

    The audio quality is also very good, and despite some problematic dialogue, is one of the more impressive audio tracks for this genre.

    The extras are very extensive, although they do tend to be on the shallow side (pardon the pun).

Ratings (out of 5)


© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, September 03, 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)

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Chris A
DVD Net - Robert M
Web Wombat - James A

Comments (Add)
There's Something MORE about Mary - R4? - a_ZoMbIe