Hal Larson (Jack Black) isn’t into meaningful relationships; he just wants sex with beautiful strangers. Then, trapped in a lift with TV guru Tony Robbins (playing himself), he’s hypnotised into seeing the woman within rather than without. And sure enough, he falls for willowy Rosemary Shanahan (Gwyneth Paltrow). Well, that’s how he sees her; the rest of the world, including his best friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander) see a 400lb woman (Paltrow had to don a special suit that took three hours to get on and an hour to remove).
Since it’s a Farrelly Brothers film, the jokes, both verbal and visual, come thick and fast, but the film is geniunely sincere in its assertion that personality is more important than looks, albeit a not particularly revolutionary assertion. Hal also sees beyond physically disfigured kids and burn victims to discover their true selves and when Robbins’ spell wears off, what could have been gross humour is actually quite touching.
Unheralded, the Farrelly Brothers do a lot of work with children with learning difficulties and include disabled people in their films in straighter roles than the more able actors they use, which means their understanding shines through. That doesn’t detract from the comedy – far from it – but unlike Something About Mary or Dumb and Dumber, this shows the Brothers have heart as well as humour.
USA | 114 minutes | 2001
Directora: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Script: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Sean Moynihan,
Gwyneth Paltrow as Rosemary Shanahan
Jack Black as Hal Larson
Jason Alexander as Mauricio Wilson
Joe Viterelli as Steve Shanahan
Rene Kirby as Walt
Bruce McGill as Reverend Larson
Tony Robbins as Himself
Susan Ward as Jill
Zen Gesner as Ralph
Brooke Burns as Katrina
Rob Moran as Second Tiffany
Kyle Gass as Artie
Laura Kightlinger as Jen
Nan Martin as Nurse Tanya Peeler
Sasha Neulinger as Young Hal
Erinn Bartlett as Bella
Fawn Irish as Spastic Bella
Daniel Greene as Doctor
Danny Murphy as Cabbie
Steve Tyler as McIntosh Waiter
Darius Rucker as Capital Grille Maitre D’
Bonnie Aarons as Spastic Friend #1
Sayed Badreya as Doctor Sayed
Molly Shannon as Mrs. Mary Larson (uncredited)
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