Shallow Hal Movie Poster Image

Shallow Hal

Romantic comedy is pretty tame for Farrelly bros.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 113 minutes

What parents need to know

Not applicable

Sexual references and situations.


Strong language for a PG-13, including one use of "f--k," plus several "s--t"s, "d--k," "t-ts," "hell," "ass," "crap," "damn," "oh my God," and other crude/slang terms.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language for a PG-13, especially the sexual references. Characters drink, and several scenes are set at a bar/nightclub. The overall theme of the movie is the importance of judging people based on their behavior, not their looks. Robbins explains that Black is not hypnotized now -- he was hypnotized before, when he thought that all of the TV and movie images of beauty were what mattered. Some viewers may feel that the movie itself makes fun of people who do not fit current standards of beauty. A disabled character is treated with complete naturalness -- he is by no means perfect (because he gets around on all fourts, he tells girls he recognizes them by their panties), but he's good-hearted and respected.

What's the story?

Hal (Jack Black) and his best friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander) are two pudgy guys who insist on women with absolute physical perfection. Even though Hal is a pretty nice guy who is good at his job, when it comes to women, he is undeniably shallow. Then he and infomercial star Anthony Robbins get stuck in an elevator together, and Robbins gives Hal a gift -- from now on, Hal will see people the way they are, not the way they look. Suddenly, all around him are gorgeous girls who are very interested in him. They're interested in him because he thinks they are beautiful, and he thinks they are beautiful because they are kind, generous, beautiful people. Mauricio is horrified, especially when Hal falls for Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow), who volunteers at the local hospital and works for the Peace Corps. Mauricio looks at her and sees a hugely obese woman. Hal looks at her and sees -- Gwyneth Paltrow.

Is it any good?


The Farrelly brothers, known for gross-out comedies, have taken a couple of giant, if uncertain, steps toward the mainstream with this fairly conventional romantic comedy. SHALLOW HAL even has an undeniably sweet moral -- that true beauty is seen with the heart, not the eyes. Black's specialty is a sort of frenzied but charming energy, and unfortunately, this movie does not give him much opportunity to show it off. Paltrow has some nice moments as Rosemary, a vulnerable woman who has felt humiliatingly invisible all her life.

But one problem with the movie is that instead of the characters themselves being funny, the jokes in the movie happen around them. Black and Paltrow do the best they can, but there just is not enough comic energy at the core of the movie. Some Farelly trademarks make it into the movie, including a disabled character (athlete Rene Kirby, who has spina bifida) and a bizarre physical aberration. But overall, it seems as though it is something of a transitional film for the Farrellys, enjoyable on its own and as a suggestion of better things to come.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what we look at and what we look for when we meet people. If we saw the way Hal does, who would be the most beautiful person you know? How would you look? Would you like to see people the way Hal does?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 9, 2001
DVD/Streaming release date:July 2, 2002
Cast:Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black, Jason Alexander
Directors:Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:113 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language and sexual content

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Adult Written bymclawhornk April 9, 2008
I think that it needs to be mentioned that skinny Rose Mary is in a thong & sheer top getting ready to have sex with Hal. Her naked butt is shown (when there is no need for it) for entirely too long.
Teen, 16 years old Written byJWilliams303 June 7, 2010

Very funny movie with a good message

I thought this movie was really good. Had a lot of funny stuff in it, a good plot, and a very good message; Never judge someone for what they look like.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Adult Written bywonder dove November 16, 2012

Ridiculously hilarious!

This is one of my all time favorite films when I need a good laugh. It's a quirky, feel good story about a below-average guy (Jack Black) who has super high standards towards women. Hal is shallow and jokes about women who are not pretty. Until he meets self-help motivator Anthony Robbins on an elevator, who helps Hal see the beauty on the inside instead of out. He works his magic on him (kind of like hypnotizing) and Hal becomes a whole new man, appreciating women for who they are. It makes him see super ugly women who have good hearts as hot supermodels, and super hot women who are mean-hearted turn into ugly girls. Really quite funny! He meets Rosie, a kind woman who is obese and rather depressed. But Hal sees her as the most beautiful woman ever (Gwyneth Paltrow) and they eventually become a couple until Hal's best friend (Jason Alexander - from Seinfeld) ruins everything and makes Anthony Robbins change him back to how he once was. In the end, Hal finally learns that looks aren't everything. There are some very good (and true) messages. No violence. Lots of language for a PG-13 including a funny "f" word and other common words everyone 13 and over have heard before. Nothing strong or too inappropriate. Some mild sexual content includes Rosie's butt shown while wearing a very revealing thong (about a 5 second glance). Reference to sleeping together (no sex shown), some kissing. There are party/club scenes with skimpy clothing, some drinking & smoking. Teens & adults who like comedy will love this one, 13++ is appropriate!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing