As with Osmosis Jones, which came out the same year, Shallow Hal feels like the Farrelly Brothers are starting to mellow somewhat. There is a conspicuous lack of dick, fart, sex and bodily fluid jokes in fact, Shallow Hal is an earnest love-wins-out story that comes surprisingly free of any gleeful or malicious undertow. That said, Shallow Hal is a one gag film premised on the single idea that Jack Black can suddenly see ugly and overweight girls as supermodel types. Thats it. It is a concept where the Farrelly Brothers tread a precious line. While the film has a big message that earnestly appeals to us to look beyond superficialities and not judge based on outward appearances and so on, all the laughs ultimately come from making fat girl jokes sight gags about Gwyneth Paltrow dive-bombing into a pool and showering everybody, chairs constantly collapsing under her, the canoe tilting up as they go rowing, the amount of food she eats and so on.
Furthermore, the Farrellys surround the story with a freakshow of handicapped people a man who can only walk on his hands, transsexuals, psoriasis sufferers and lots of ugly and overweight girls, even Jason Alexander revealing that he has a tail. It seems less like a plea for understanding than that the Farrelly Brothers have assembled a novelty freakshow, not unlike a John Waters film. While John Waters films are quite innocent and inoffensive and he has an undeniable empathy and love with the freaks he shows off, the Farrelly Brothers just want to make bad taste jokes. Here though there are precious few of the outrageous belly laughs, the sort that come out of seeing someone squirm in discomfort, that the Farrellys got out of Theres Something About Mary. It seems, having been sidetracked by making a pat moral film, the Farrelly Brothers have quelled what they do best and only produce merely a vague occasional smile.
In the peculiar trivia department, the end credits show photos of all the crewmembers alongside their names.
Shallow Hal was parodied in Date Movie (2006).
The Farrelly Brothers other ventures into genre material include:- the stalker black comedy Theres Something About Mary (1998) and Osmosis Jones (2001), a partly animated film about the talking germs inside a mans body. Peter Farrelly on his own produced and directed several segments of the comedy anthology Movie 43 (2013).
(Nominee for Best Makeup Effects at this sites Best of 2001 Awards).