10. Shallow Hal
Original Release Date: Shallow Hal hit theaters on November 9, 2001.
Box Office Earnings: The film opened in second place, behind Monsters Inc., in its opening weekend, bringing in $22.5 million. Shallow Hal went on to gross $141.1 million worldwide, with $70 million coming from the domestic box office, against its $40 million budget.
Critical Acclaim: Surprisingly, the critical response to Shallow Hal was remarkably split down the middle. The film holds a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with some critics praising the controversial film’s execution, and others find heart and humor in its message. As a comedy, top awards weren’t on the horizon, but the film earned three Teen Choice Award nominations for the movie itself, Jack Black’s performance, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance.
About the Role: Gwyneth Paltrow plays Rosemary, a woman with whom Jack Black’s titularly shallow Hal becomes enamored. Typically, Hal chases women because of their physical beauty and hits on women even though he’s consistently (and rightfully) rejected. When he’s hypnotized by Tony Robbins to see only a woman’s inner beauty, he views Rosemary, who is overweight, through his usually shallow lens. However, he falls for her based not on what he sees but on who she is on the inside. The film, though problematic in its offensive jokes, aims for a positive message.
Simply the Best: Look, Paltrow has admitted that she didn’t love participating in Shallow Hal or its usage of a bodysuit. In recent years, the practice of changing a thin performer’s appearance with a bodysuit has become condemned as culture finally moves away from demeaning behavior. Still, Paltrow’s appearance in the film was otherwise welcome, considering she didn’t star in many comedies, especially those deemed low-brow (shout out to View from the Top, which she also later disavowed). Regardless of how the movie fares today, her on-screen charm shines through.