Shallow Hal’ is a very unconventional film. The concept: man (Jack Black) who fixates on finding a partner with perfect looks is hypnotised to see the inner beauty of people, so that woman (and men) who society has rejected as being too ugly/fat/both, seem blindingly attractive to him, and us when we see the world through his point of view. He falls in love with a woman he sees as an angel (Gwyneth Paltrow). The moments when Paltrow features in so-called ‘fat’ situations (the canoe ride, the dive bomb in to a pool) here become beats in which Black suspects something is wrong. It could by argued that because these sections aren’t laugh out loud funny it makes the film a failure. But these are the only times the film wallows in the situation and are actually quite adorable.

But what really marks the film out as different is the ending. If this had been the wrong kind of comedy, we would have seen Black chasing about the country looking for the hypnotist to put the spell back on so that he can see his girl they she had always been to him. Instead we have twenty minutes of John Cusack-style soul searching followed by an otherwise text book Hollywood ending, in which Black sees Paltrow’s inner beauty before her looks. This is done without a cutaway to remind us of what thin Gwyneth looked like and with a totally straight face. Adorable. So here we have ‘Shallow Hal’ – a comedy with hidden depths.

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