Shallow Hal


Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow

Compassion - A
Rosemary is a kind, thoughtful person. She is presented as someone with incredible inner beauty.
Realism - C-
She's played by Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit. For all the similarities between her and her in a fat suit, they could have just picked a fat actress to play her instead and dubbed her voice over it. She also dresses pretty scantily for someone who has as low an opinion of her looks as her character does.
Fat Jokes/Stereotypes - low F
Overeating - Rosemary eats nothing but junk food in the film. She and Hal order something when they first eat out together. He is not even able to finish this presumably large meal, but she is. They are served a huge milkshake with two straws and she drinks the entire thing in just a couple of seconds--while Hal's head is turned. When someone comes into Hal's office with cake, she invites herself to "a little sliver" then takes a quarter of the cake and walks off eating it with her hands. When they are at a restaurant later, she eats his food as well as hers. Other food items she orders/eats are nachos with the works and a caramel apple. She is not shown eating something healthy even once.
Breaking furniture - This one hurt the most. Both times it happened, it felt like a slap in the face as i was watching it. A steel chair in the first restaurant breaks, flattening completely to the ground with the legs bent in all directions. In a later restaurant, her entire half of the booth they're in breaks into splinters (a piece of furniture that should be able to support three adults).
Hideous clothing - None of the fat women are shown wearing cute outfits. They're all either frumpy, tacky, or ill-fitting. Even shown on Gwyneth, one of Rosemary's shirts is stretched across her chest so that it gaps between the buttons a bit.
Oversized clothing - Both are underpants. First she's shopping and inspecting a pair (Hal asks her if she's looking for a parachute or if she's using it as a sail). Later she takes off a pair. Both pairs are twice as large as they should be even for her actual size.
Overemphasis on the effect of her weight - Besides the breaking furniture, the effects her weight have on objects is exaggerated ridiculously. The most obvious is the pool scene. First she gets on the diving board. There is the sound effect of THUMP, THUMP, THUMP as she walks to the end of the board (which dips more than it should). Then when she jumps, the water splashes a boy in the pool up into a tree and puts out the fire in a grill several feet from the pool. A  little earlier in the movie, when the Rosemary and Hal are in a canoe, it tips so much on her side that his end rises up out of the water and he's "rowing" air. He actually tries to pick her up at the end and is not even able to budge her. When they get in his friend's car together, the car bottoms out on her side when she gets in.
Other - She is constantly self-deprecating. For someone who wears a bikini, blue-jean cutoffs, and form-fitting clothes (except for the frumpy stuff at the end when Gwyneth is wearing a fat suit), she has an incredibly low opinion of herself--even to the point that she gets angry when hal tells her she's beautiful. Also, stereotypes of fat people aren't the only ones in the film. "Attractive" people are portrayed as being ugly on the inside while "unattractive" people are portrayed as beautiful on the inside. No one in the film turns out to be just as beautiful/ugly on the inside as they are on the outside. If the message was supposed to be not to judge a book by its cover, then they weren't conveying it very well.
Other Elements - B-
The really sad thing is that this movie could have been good. The dialogue was fine, the actors playing the two main characters did well in their roles, and fat jokes and stereotypes weren't an intricate part of the script itself. It would have been a decent romantic comedy without those last two elements, but they chose to put them in anyway. Had they left out the fat jokes and stereotypes, it would still have been funny--the scene at the beginning where the two men are dancing terribly in the club was one of the most amusing moments in the film for me. As for the message they say they intended--while I like the idea, I feel the end doesn’t justify the means.
Average - D+

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