ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth though you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Shallow Hal (2001), PG-13
Analysis Date: November 9, 2001
CAP Score: 52
CAP Influence Density: 1.40

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

SHALLOW HAL (PG-13) -- ...called by some the "Kings of Vulgar Comedy."

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Director(s): Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Producer(s): Bobby Farrelly (prod.), Peter Farrelly (prod.), Bradley Thomas (prod.), Charles B. Wessler (prod), Mark Charpentier (co.), Marc S. Fischer (co.)
Written by/Screenplay: Sean Moynihan, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Cinematography/Camera: Russell Carpenter
Music: Ivy

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"Another (expletive deleted) teen movie!" This is the total content, audio and visual, of a large portion of a preview of an upcoming movie. And it almost fits Shallow Hal to the tee. To provide perspective for the rest of this paragraph, the maximum number of points a movie can earn in any CAP investigation Area is 100. The Impudence/Hate score (which includes foul language) for Shallow Hal is zero [Prov. 8:13, Eph. 5:4]. The Sex/Homosexuality score is zero [Hebr. 13:4]. The Offense to God score (which includes using God's name in vain) is 50 [Deut. 5:11]. Drugs/Alcohol is 62 [Eph. 5:18]. Wanton Violence/Crime and Murder/Suicide are each 100. This scoring distribution reveals the targeting, doesn't it? The CAP Thermometers in the Findings/Scoring section provide visual perspective of the scoring distribution for Shallow Hal.

The Farrelly Brothers are called by some the "Kings of Vulgar Comedy." Shallow Hal is one of their works. Though there is a moral to this story - one that inner beauty is more valuable than physical appearance - this movie is certainly a teen sex/language show [Ps. 12:8]. Too bad, too. Such a theme could be a positive influence if it were not saturated in morally extortionistic sexual and impudence/arrogance influences. [Gal. 5:19]

As a young teen, Shallow Hal (Jack Black) was taught by his dying father, which the scriptwriters chose to make a reverend, that a beautiful woman is voluptuous and sensuous and glowing with sex appeal. Being a less-than-attractive man, Hal spent his life trying to capture that kind of a woman ... at least until he became trapped in an elevator with self-help guru Anthony Robbins (who plays himself). In the elevator, Robbins "hypnotized" Hal to see the inner beauty in all people, regardless of their physical appearance. While it is indeed good to not judge people by their outward appearances unless their outward appearance is, by choice, clearly arrogant, rebellious, hateful or vulgar (for what is on the outside comes from the inside) [John 7:24], to force perceptions by mental manipulation is most questionable.

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Before I go any further into the storyline, Hal ended up with his pants off (we did not see him take them off) setting on the floor in the elevator with Robbins . Why on earth he had his pants off is beyond me. I noted nothing in the script to give any hints as to why he took off his pants. I must leave it to you to decide for yourself why a man would take his pants off with another man in an elevator which was disabled for hours. There may have been something in the script to explain this, but if there was I missed it.

Once outside the elevator, Hal began to see the inner beauty of people ... but his best friend, Mauricio (Jason Alexander) still sees only the superficial aspect of people. Mauricio was a rather insecure fellow as well. He had an "infirmity" which, by the way, could only be seen if he took his pants off. Pants off again! Does that help you capture the gist of this flick? I doubt that the dozens of preteen and young teen girls screeching in the front rows of the audience were of a mind to see what such entertainment actually does to them and their natural inhibitions.

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Hal now does not see any superficial aspects of women: no obesity, no age, nothing facial. He sees only the inner beauty, which made the outer woman appear beautiful to him. (Don't ask me to explain that -- it's a movie.) Hal experiences a number of short term relationships with women of dimension and women who, by external features, would be called "dogs" by shallow Hals or mean Mauricios. Indeed, Mauricio references a song titled "Who Let the Dogs Out" to describe some women.

In a clothing store, Hal met Rosemary. Mauricio was with Hal. Under the influence of Robbins' "gift", Hal saw a very voluptuous and sensuous girl glowing with sex appeal while Mauricio saw a 300 pound "rhino" trying to look pretty. Undaunted, Hal approached Rosemary and kindled a relationship with her. It turned out that Rosemary was the daughter of Hal's boss of JPS Funds, a coarse Irish man who thinks Hal has ulterior motives for going after his 300 pound daughter. Rosemary is also a volunteer at a children's hospital. There, Hal meets a number of adorable kids and "falls in love" with an adorable little girl with a heart of gold.
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Walt (Rene Kirby), worked with Rosemary in a children's hospital. Mr. Kirby with spina bifida and an atrophied body from the waist down may have been the real star of this show, at least star of the movie's attempted message. He was accomplished and confident. Mr. Kirby could have but chose not to use a wheel chair and other devices, yet he demonstrated accomplishment in cycling and acrobatics. He exuded an almost arrogant "who cares what you think" and "you are the different one" attitude and is apparently quite comfortable with himself as he is. Hats off to Rene Kirby.

One of the few touching moments in Shallow Hal was after he lost his "gift" of seeing all women as beautiful. Hal started to question his vision regarding women ... including Rosemary. After an extended period of breaking off contact with Rosemary, Hal came to his senses and understood that he had fallen in love with Rosemary, not her body. Chasing after Rosemary, Hal returned to the children's hospital looking for her. Hal met again the adorable little girl with a heart of gold who this time, though the same little girl, was horribly disfigured by burns. Hal did not see the burns when he had his "gift" and fell in love with her charm and inner beauty. But in this visit, after loss of the "gift", Hal saw her as she actually was ... and he still loved her. Misted me eyes, it did.

There is a paradox here. The "inner beauty" Hal saw was always "...voluptuous and sensuous and glowing with sex appeal." Do these physical traits identify beauty? Is a model-grade body required for beauty? Must anyone with a "less-than-attractive" body be ugly? While the rest of the world saw flab and foul Hal saw firm and fine. Doesn't that say flab automatically makes the person ugly? Doesn't that defeat the "message" of this movie of embracing inner beauty rather than superficial properties? Isn't this kind of - err - shallow?

Even with a good theme this movie is, as I mentioned above, saturated with issues of ignominy. Much use of the three/four letter word vocabulary, including (but only once) the most foul of the foul words. The equations in the CAP analysis model used to calculate the Sex/Homosexuality score had to be modified to accommodate overflow. There are 60 entry blocks on our recording forms in each investigation area. And 60 in Sex/Homosexuality were not enough. Let the listing in the Findings/Scoring section tell the whole truth about Shallow Hal.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse [obstinate in opposing the norm or the accepted] speech.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
  • Deut. 5:11 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["...on wine" can be any intoxicating substance.]
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively extreme vulgar and vile entertainment with impunity] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it].
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. [Yes, we may judge behavior IF we use the Word to judge. But we may NOT judge Salvation. More if you want to know.]

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Shallow Hal (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • none noted

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 32 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • hateful insults based on physical appearance, multiple
  • lies to avoid ownership of accountability

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • making sexual suggestions to teen son
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, multiple
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing
  • sensuous dancing, vulgar rub dancing, multiple
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts
  • suggestive eye movements
  • sexual innuendo, talk (some vulgar, such as fondling female anatomy and intercourse), comments; multiple
  • adult in underwear, multiple
  • toilet humor, multiple
  • excessive cleavage
  • crude/vulgar use of anatomical references
  • revealing swimwear
  • rear female nudity
  • stripping for sex
  • exposing self to another
  • invitation to have sex while nude in bed (covered)
  • man and woman in bed after intercourse (intercourse not seen)
  • cohabitation
  • inappropriate touch, multiple
  • transsexual
  • homosexual reference and suggestion
  • sexual offer
  • licking kissing

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar scenes
  • drinking, multiple
  • imagery of alcoholic beverages, multiple

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • mockery of the Scriptures
  • mental suggestion to force behavioral change
  • 11 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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