Roger M. Wilcox's

Shallow Hal

gushing fan page

Last modified on 18-December-2023

Shallow Hal movie poster
Shallow Hal video cover (early draft?) Shallow Hal video cover Shallow Hal DVD cover
Cover of Shallow Hal script in book form

I was never a Farrelly Brothers fan. Nor was I a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, nor Jack Black, nor Tenacious D, nor Jason Alexander, nor Laura Kightlinger. And I was certainly not a fan of Tony Robbins.

But by the gods, I am sure as heck a fan of Shallow Hal!

And I can't really say why, for certain. I can't really put it into words. Shallow Hal isn't the kind of movie I'd recommend to anyone else. It's not even a very good movie, and I admit that. What this movie does to me is deeply personal, and I guard the effect it has on me with great jealousy. From its first general release on 9-November-2001, through the end of its theatrical run in the Bay Area on 28-February-2002, I saw Shallow Hal in the theaters 17 separate times. (And on that last time, I waved a fond farewell to its theatrical run as the woman with the little dog at the end waved its paw and said, "Say bye-bye!")  Wow. I love this movie. I want to marry it.

You see, on those extremely rare occasions when I have somehow managed to get a girlfriend, there are a whole slew of emotions I feel at first, and not all of them are positive emotions. There is anxiety ("Oh God, I'm nervous!"). There is unsureness ("Is she really what I want?"). There is worry ("Am I going to screw it up again?"). Of course, there's giddiness and relief and excitement and other positive emotions, too, but it's only with the mix of positive and negative emotions that it feels real. Once in my life, thanks to an, um, lap dance I got in Tijuana, I managed to "trick" myself into having all these feelings at once again. It was almost like getting a new, real, honest-to-goodness girlfriend. The feelings were gone by morning, but for a brief time, it was almost as good as the real thing.

And in that scene where Rosemary told Hal that she felt uncomfortable about him telling her that she was beautiful when she knew she wasn't, I had the very same panoply of feelings go through me again!!  It was like really being there, on a real date, with a real woman who expressed a real concern because she really wanted to keep things going. And more importantly, later, as the movie wore on, it became obvious that . . . that . . . that <snif>  Rosemary has real feelings for Hal. She is in love with him. She cares about him!!  *SOB*!  That's something I experience so rarely that the few memories I have of it actually happening to me seem like a distant dream about somebody else's life. It felt like an eternity since anyone had felt that way for me. (Not that I'm bitter, noooooooo.)  And I really, really needed to experience it again, if only vicariously through a dumb old supernatural romantic-comedy movie.

But the thing that initially drew me to the movie, the thing that first got my attention, was:

The magic spell cast on Hal

Let's face it, the proper subgenre for this film is not merely that of your garden variety "romantic comedy," but one of the more intriguing "supernatural romantic comedy."  It's not just your standard boy-meets-girl, boy-makes-booger-jokes, girl-runs-away-from-booger-jokes, boy-makes-an-incredibly-romantic-booger-joke-that-wins-girl-back-at-the-end plotline. No no no no. There is an extra ingredient here. Supernatural forces are at work, which twist reality into some new, alternate, even-more-romantic version of itself.

In a supernatural romantic comedy, nothing is impossible. Mel Gibson can hear women's thoughts. Nicholas Cage can retroactively be married for 13 years, despite being single. Jack Frost can come back from the dead as a talking snowman. Bette Midler can raise Shelley Long from the dead without even needing a snowman. George Burns can swap bodies with his 18-year-old grandson. Meg Ryan can snatch a perfect gentleman from two centuries in the past. All the major characters, despite their inherent desirability, can be miraculously single at just the right moment. And here, in Shallow Hal, Hal Larson receives a "gift" from the self-promoting, banana-handed Tony Robbins that transcends all known laws of physics.

The "gift" that Tony Robbins bestows on Hal — without Hal's full knowledge — is the ability to see only the Inner Beauty™ in every person he meets in the future from then on.

The very notion filled me with wonder. Wow! Hal could instantly tell, just by looking, who were the good people and who were the "bad" people. What a fantastic superpower! I would love to be able to do that! I could just walk into a room full of available women, and with a single glance know who would be nice — and, for that matter, who would probably make a good mate for me.  Without having to go through the trials and tribulations and heart-wrenching let-downs of getting to know any of these women first.

What I'd really like, though, is a gizmo I could wear on my belt, with a switch that allowed me to turn this Inner Beauty™ vision on and off. I could leave it off for normal interaction with the world, so that I wouldn't accidentally see a wheelchair-bound paraplegic as an Olympic sprinter and mistakenly invite him to walk up the stairs with me, or make a faux-pas as bad as what Hal did the first time he talked to Rosemary. But if I ever had to trust someone I didn't know intimately, or if I was pondering whether I should ask a particular woman out, or even if I was worried that I might be making too many excuses for someone's awfulness because (s)he was good-looking, I could peel back all the layers of that person's persona and see his/her "true" self, iconified into the surface standard of beauty or ugliness, with one flick of a switch.

Of course, I'd have to be careful if I used this trick for mate selection. It would be a mistake simply to switch on the Inner Beauty™ device and go after the woman who then looked the most physically attractive to me. Why? Because, as was obvious in Shallow Hal, the power of Inner Beauty™ vision only displays Inner Beauty™ as the Hollywood standard of beauty. A woman with just oodles of Inner Beauty™ would appear as a supermodel, with the face of a 16-year-old girl and the body of an emaciated annorexic. And I don't go for teen-age annorexics. I like a woman with some meat on her bones and a few more years in her eyes. Whenever my Inner Beauty™ vision was turned on, I would have to keep reminding myself to go after the stereotypically beautiful women, not merely the women that looked like my personal choice for beauty.

Now, of course, there is the problem that Inner Beauty™ vision is, well, bogus. It can't be done. There is nothing in real life that will substitute for the long, painful process of getting to know someone and taking often nasty risks with that person from time to time. People's "souls" do not emit any special Inner Beauty™ radiation that you can detect. Listen to the bogus explanation from the movie dialog as to how this superpower is supposed to work:

Mauricio: "How can he see the inner beauty in these women when he doesn't even know them?"
Tony Robbins: "Inner beauty is the easiest thing in the world to see when you're looking for it."
Groooooooan. My eyes roll way the hell back in my head every time I watch the movie and get to this scene. If Inner Beauty™ is so damn easy to see, then why the hell can't anybody just flip on their own little internal Inner Beauty™ vision switch any time they want to?  Huh? Surely, such an ability would have been an invaluable tool to our ancestors out on the African savannah! "Hey, Og, here comes somebody from the neighboring tribe. It looks like he wants to trade with us."  Og, worried that the stranger might try to swindle them, looks for the stranger's Inner Beauty™. "Don't trust him," Og declares, "His Inner Beauty™ looks like a ratty old saber-toothed tiger."  Boom! Og has just saved his tribe from being conned out of several dozen hard-earned stone spearheads. The women of the tribe are so grateful that they all bear Og's children, and within a few generations, everybody has Og's Inner Beauty™ vision genes, and within a few hundred more generations, everybody on Earth would have them.

At least, that's what would happen if Inner Beauty™ really were as easy to see as Tony Robbins makes it out to be. Hmph. I'll bet Tony Robbins's Inner Beauty™ looks like a toothless shrivelled old man with dirty scars all over his face and body.

Then again, I sometimes wonder what my Inner Beauty™ would look like if I switched on the Inner Beauty™ vision device and looked in a mirror. <shudder>

Fat Rosemary

Because love grows
Where my Rosemary goes
And nobody knows
like me!
Another reason I was drawn to this film is, as I've said, I like a woman to have some meat on her bones. When I heard that Gwyneth Paltrow was going to have an overweight body double in this movie, I was ecstatic. They were setting up this woman to be "ugly."  Not because she really was ugly, but merely because she was fat. But I don't find fat women ugly. So, to me, I figured she might be rather attractive. And if she were attractive to me, but "ugly" to the rest of the world, I could bask in the fantasy that she might actually be someone personally attractive that I'd have a shot at! Of course, such a fantasy was ridiculous — even in the unlikely event that she was actually available, she'd be an actress working in Los Angeles while I'm hundreds of miles away from there.

But that didn't matter when I saw the movie for the first time and peered into the lovely face of Rosemary's real appearance. She was beautiful, just like Hal said she was. Her long, flowing blonde hair caught the golden afternoon sunlight, ringing her face in a soft halo. Even though she wasn't really mine, and was never going to be mine, I revelled in this secret love-affair I was having with this projected image on the screen. She was miiiiiiiine, and no one else would be inclined to horn in on my secret beauty, because she didn't meet everyone else's standards of beauty.

I was crestfallen when I learned, afterward, that all of the shots of Fat Rosemary from the neck up were merely Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat-woman suit.

But now I at least know where to look. There are scenes in the movie of Rosemary from the neck down, or from behind, where it isn't Gwyneth Paltrow playing the role at all. It is her body-double. In a couple of scenes, you can get a fleeting glimpse of her partial profile . . . and it is even more gorgeous than Gwyneth Paltrow's face in the fat-woman suit. That shot of Rosemary from a 3/4 angle behind, when her father is glancing at her in the kitchen while she's leaning over the counter in her shorts, is breathtaking. While the rest of the audience was going, "Ewww!", I was secretly blowing her kisses.

As explained in this Entertainment Tonight article, Paltrow's body double is 22-year-old-at-the-time Ivy Snitzer, who bears no relation to the band "Ivy" credited with the movie's incidental music. From her picture, it seems that she is a natural brunette, which was somewhat of a disappointment for me. (But that photo of her in the blonde wig with Jack Black . . . wow, is she cute!)  And as it turns out, even she had to put on padding to look as fat as the Farrelly brothers wanted her to in some scenes. Since she was only 22, and I was an old geezer of 36 at the time, I feel terribly guilty, because it means that although I can take the moral high ground by being attracted to overweight women, I'm still attracted to young women, which do fit the standard mainstream image of feminine beauty. And, of course, I'm still coming to grips with the fact that I'm attracted to blondes, which are apparently preferred by every other male on the planet, too.

Here are some old links that USED to have pictures of Ivy Snitzer on them, but don't work any more:

And here is a link to a picture of Ivy Snitzer that was still working as of 12-May-2010:

The Nitpicking section

As I've said, Shallow Hal isn't exactly a perfect bed of roses. There are continuity errors, plot holes, and (in some theaters) visible boom microphones throughout the movie. So, here's where I get to pick it apart and point out all the glitches like a good little fanboy ought to.

Other stuff in the movie I didn't care for

JPS Funds

Little is known about Hal's job, or about the company that Hal works for. The scriptwriters apparently felt that the movie would have broader appeal, or that males in the audience could more readily identify with Hal, if his occupation were never addressed. All the references to Hal's job, even when he's at work talking with his bosses, are in the abstract.

Here's what little the movie gives us to go on:

In the published shooting script, there was a little more elaboration:

These hints all imply that JPS is in the financial securities business to some degree, and has a strong enough reputation that they can sell mutual funds with a load on them in an age where their competitors are selling no-load mutual funds. Perhaps the "product" Hal suggested to Steve was a mutual fund that invested in higher risk stocks or commodities than JPS's usual fare.

Mirror, mirror

While Hal is under the spell of Tony Robbins's Inner Beauty™ vision, we in the audience get to see the people that Hal meets from Hal's point of view. However, whenever one of these people passes in front of a mirror or other reflective surface, we get a fleeting glimpse of what they actually look like.

Those of you who've seen the movie even once probably remember the scene where Rosemary and Hal are walking along the street toward his apartment building after their first big date, and Rosemary is eating a caramel apple. When they walk in front of a plate glass window, we see Rosemary's reflection at her full, natural weight. But this isn't the only time in the movie they do this trick. They do it again, right before Mauricio breaks the spell on Hal. Look very carefully at the mirror on the wall of the McIntosh lobby, which is showing Tiffany's reflection. Tiffany appears cute and feminine to Hal, but the mirror is showing her true, surface appearance. (We get a much clearer view of Tiffany in all "her" glory a few seconds later, after Mauricio's dreaded spell-breaking cellphone call.)

The music

There were several songs featured prominently in the movie which would be great for the soundtrack album, but which do not appear on the soundtrack album. This is unfortunate, especially considering that the soundtrack album easily had enough room for several more tracks and contained one song that wasn't even in the movie.

Most prominent among the left-out songs was the dance music heard while Hal was dancing with the "pack of stampeding buffallo."  (Who are, according to the credits, more properly known as the "spastic friends.")  Heck, I'd dance to it, if it was playing while I was in a dance bar. Also glaringly obvious was the lack of that "We Are Building a Religion" song heard both while Mauricio, Hal, Li'iBoy, and Ralph are driving like madmen to Rosemary's going away party, and during the end credits. Perhaps there were issues with securing the rights to these two songs for the soundtrack album or something.

But the biggest omission was of all the incidental music composed by Ivy for the film. Where's that "dah, da da dah, da dah dah" theme that gets reiterated over and over and over again, foreshadowings of which can even be heard in the metellophone playing in the very first scene where the doctor is looking over Hal's dying dad? That theme practically defined the movie! And where's the suspenseful music that played when Hal had just had the whammy lifted and was in danger of seeing the real Rosemary at McIntosh's (which, I should mention, has very subtle vocal "dah"s in it just like the main "dah, da da dah, da dah dah" theme!)? I mean, I understand that the soundtrack album was really released as a kind of pop-music song collection album, but still.

The only way to get all the music to listen to, of course, is to buy or rent the DVD. (Or copy the DVD in a DVD burner, or go to one of those bootleg places and get a ripped-off copy, but such activites are a no-no. They're also illegal.)

Some of the music in this movie doesn't really work. Neil Young's strained falsetto in "After the Gold Rush" is annoying as hell, for example. But a good deal of the music really works and works well. "Wall in your Heart," which starts playing near the end of Hal's phone call with Rosemary where you can see her start to cry from behind, and which continues to play while Hal and Mauricio are seen (but not heard) arguing next to the park bench, can bring me right to the edge of despair, and had me blubbering like a baby for a few seconds during my 11th viewing of the movie. "This Is My World" literally brought me to tears the 8th time I saw the film, while Rosemary carried Hal to the VW convertible at the end and raised her arms in triumph. And "Love Grows (Where my Rosemary Goes)"? I'd never heard the song before I saw this movie, and now, that song is this movie. "Where my Rosemary goes" . . . "my Rosemary" . . . sigh

Of all the e-mail I have received about this webpage, almost all of it consists of questions on the order of "What was that song they were playing at thus-and-such part of the movie? It was, like, kewl, and stuff."  Pah. Plebeans. This movie is so much more than just a collection of pop tunes! Can't you see that?! Can't you?!?!!  What do you mean, "No, I can't"?

Oh, all right, you kids. You win. Here's a list of the titles and artists of the most frequently asked-for songs that aren't on the soundtrack album:

And Cry Unto Her

And if you love the girl, man, light up a torch,
Blaze a trail to her front porch,
Kiss her 'til your lips are scorched
And the rain comes down in you.
From the moment Rosemary visits Hal's apartment after Hal has lost his Inner Beauty™ vision, every encounter between them makes my heart yearn for Hal to get it out in the open. I know it wouldn't have made for nearly as good a movie, but I so longed for Hal to level with her and tell her about his true feelings and his newfound turmoil. I wanted him to say:
"Rosemary, this is going to sound crazy, but I wouldn't be telling you this if I didn't love you and I didn't want to stay together with you. I'm averting my eyes because I've never seen what you really look like. The day before I first met you, Tony Robbins — yes, that Tony Robbins — he and I were trapped in an elevator together for a couple hours, and he offered to do this little trick for me. What I didn't know at the time, and what I've just found out, was that he hypnotized me. He made it so that with everyone I met from then on, I would only see what kind of person they were on the inside. I actually saw every new person's inner beauty. I didn't see their real appearance. But Mauricio just erased that, and now, I can't even recognize anybody I've met while I was hypnotized. When I said you weighed 110 or 115 pounds, I wasn't just being nice. You really honestly looked like a thin woman. Mauricio has said some awful things about the way you look, and I know you're actually fat, but I won't believe that you're too ugly to look at. I've seen how nice and how wonderful you are, and I love you too damn much to give you up. And I love you too much not to tell you all this, as bad and as cuckoo as it sounds. I want to look at you now. I've never seen you before, not from the outside, and I want to look at you now. Just understand if I gasp or something when I see you for the first time, because I'm scared, really scared."  <deep breath>  "Okay, here I go. I'm going to look at you now. No matter what happens next, remember that I love you, Rosemary."
How I longed for him to fly to her side as soon as he could. To fly to the side of the woman who loves him.  The woman who stared at him after telling him about her last boyfriend and said, "And I'm in love with an even greater guy."  A woman who was all that, and who was nice and who was stunningly beautiful on the inside. A woman who would be a fantastic catch for any man, who would be lover, partner, friend . . . mate. His sweetheart. His.

When he answered her phone call while he was reading, and left her thinking that he'd merely drifted away from her as "Wall in Your Heart" started playing, my heart nearly fell out of my ribcage in anguish. Tell her!  But he couldn't hear me. I was out there in the theater seats, watching a story that had already happened. He was now as alone as I ever was.

In fact, despite the fact that the script made it pretty obvious, it still took me a couple of viewings to really understand why he didn't want to see her: He wanted the real Rosemary, sure, but he still wanted her to look like Gwyneth Paltrow. In other words, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. (The fact that Rosemary ate about 1/3 of his cake in a single swipe notwithstanding. <rimshot>)

I sometimes wonder if Hal levelled with her at the end, after he'd won her back and driven off with her on their way to Kiribati. What would she think? What would she say? How long would it take her to believe that Tony Robbins's hypnosis was even possible? Would she bring up the fact that she saw him holding hands with Jill at the Capital Grille? I don't need to say that there will never be a Shallow Hal 2 to answer these questions — despite Shallow Hal's box office success, it certainly wasn't the kind of movie for which a sequel would work, and even if such an outlandish thing ever did happen it would probably (A) reduce my personal enjoyment of the first movie, and (B) not bother to answer these niggling little questions anyway.

"Oh my God, you're beautiful!"

Throughout the movie, whenever he's not dressed up in a business suit or swimming trunks, Hal is wearing a casual short-sleeved button-front shirt that isn't tucked in. At the end, when he finally sees Rosemary's true form for the first time, he's wearing one of these shirts along with a regular old casual pair of bluejeans.

Contrast this with Rosemary's outfits, which until the last scene all involve a dress or a skirt of some kind. (Assuming we ingore the deleted "Jack Runs" scene that appears only on the DVD.)  This is what Hal sees the whole time he's hypnotized.

Yet at the end, when he sees her true outer form and declares "Oh my God, you're beautiful," she's wearing a button-front casual shirt that's not tucked in, and blue jeans. In other words, when he can see the "real" her, she's dressed just like him!  (If you don't count the fact that her sleeves are long and his are short, of course, which is a pretty minor difference.)  Clearly, this was meant to show us that they're pretty much the same and therefore really really compatible. No wonder Hal thought her visage was beautiful!

Some personally memorable lines

The DVD's out! The DVD's out!

On 2-July-2002, after four months and two days of surviving in a Shallow Hal-less world, after many false starts spurred by seeing an incorrect release date of "4-June-2002" displayed in far too many places, the Shallow Hal DVD finally hit the stores. I knew a local Wal*Mart would be stocking it on this day, so I arrived there only a few minutes after the store opened in the morning. They had an entire cardboard display case devoted to nothing but DVDs of Shallow Hal. My long march through the desert of Shallow Hal deprivation had finally ended at this magnificent oasis.

The DVD features 11 scenes that were cut from the theatrical release, as well as the laserdisc-inspired tradition of letting you select "alternate" audio tracks where the directors talk over the movie, some short Shallow Hal-related clips, and an Easter egg hidden in the Language Selection screen. (There are also Spanish and French audio tracks, but although you can switch to Spanish and French subtitles, these foreign-language subtitles were never implemented beyond a few sparse translations of English-language text that appears on signs or book covers in the film. Also, for some reason, whenever I switch to the French subtitles and then turn subtitles back off, the French subtitles keep showing up anyway — this may be a bug in my DVD player's firmware, though.)  Most of the audio commentary by the Farrelly Brothers deals with which ones of their buddies they let have walk-on roles, but there are a few moments that prove quite enlightening. F'rinstance:

There was also, apparently, a change made to the main audio track. In the scene where we first see Jill and she's telling Hal she's not attracted to him, something didn't sound quite like I remembered it in the theaters. The dialog sounds just a bit "different" in the second half of that scene, starting from where Hal says, "But for most people the attraction part happens way later! Whoa!", and continuing all the way through the end where Jill says, "I don't know, Hal, maybe you should think about moving."  None of the words were changed, and there were no lip-sync problems, but I am almost certain that the dialog sound track in this scene was re-recorded for the DVD release — or at least that a different take of the dialog track was used here than was used in the theatrical release. The Farrelly brothers' audio commentary indicated that this scene was indeed "Looped" (i.e. the dialog was recorded in a studio during post-production), and that during the first week the film was in the theaters there were complaints that the lip-sync was off by a frame or two, but the difference I saw and heard here was more than just a matter of having the same dialog take being shifted over by one or two frames.

You may recall reading (or hearing) that Gwyneth Paltrow once wore the fat suit into a cocktail bar, to see how a fat person would be treated in real life, and was stunned by how no one wanted to have anything to do with her. Well, one of the Shallow Hal-related clips on this DVD shows why. It turns out the fat suit she was wearing at the time was not the final version she wore in the movie. It was an earlier version with a much more haggard-looking face. This first draft of Fat Rosemary was a lot homelier than the cute blonde Fat Rosemary we saw at the end of Shallow Hal.

Many, if not most, of the deleted scenes are the kinds of scenes where you can easily understand why they were cut. However, some portions of a few of the deleted scenes added depth to the characters and made my affections for this movie grow even deeper. There was a second scene in the gym that took place after the spell on Hal had been broken, in which Hal sees the "real" Tanya and tells Walt to dump her (because he'd previously seen her Inner Ugliness). The scene with Rosemary and Hal waking up in bed together originally ended with Rosemary's side of the bed collapsing under her weight when she rolled over ("Oops!"), which an oblivious Hal attributed to termites. The voiceless scene in the park with Hal and Mauricio arguing during the "Wall in your Heart" song originally had dialog. Oh, yes, it had dialog, all right. And there was a deleted scene, simply called "scene 11 v.3," where Hal met up with Jan on a park bench, presumably before Tony Robbins hypnotized him, and confided in her that . . . sigh. I can't tell you. Just know that it was one of those scenes that rekindled my feelings for this movie all over again.

A little added bonus on the "Special Edition" VHS

The "Special Edition" VHS version of Shallow Hal is, of course, not nearly as special as the DVD. Due to the lower resolution of VHS, and the historical expectations of VHS viewers, the movie is shown in full frame pan-and-scan. (Although this results in the left and right edges of the frame being cropped off somewhat, it also has the advantage that — at least for this movie — they cropped off less of the original film frames at the bottom, so that you can actually see a little bit more at the bottom of each scene than you can on the DVD. For instance, in the scene in the Capital Grille where Hal throws some money down on the table, you can see the money on the table and you can tell that it's at least 3 bills with a $1 bill at the top of the stack.)  At the end, they tacked on one of the "making of" shows that was also on the DVD, and a paltry 3 deleted scenes.


One of the three deleted scenes isn't on the DVD! It's an alternative version of "Bed Ditch" which, apparently, is available only on the "Special Edition" VHS. In this (short) alternate version of the Bed Ditch scene, Hal and Thin Rosemary are in bed together, Rosemary gets up, and then when Hal rolls over to her side of the bed he falls into a deep Fat-Rosemary-shaped ditch in the mattress.

Miscellany from the published shooting script

The published shooting script for Shallow Hal (ISBN 0-571-21575-0) seems to have been published only in Great Britain, and is pretty hard to get hold of. It contains a more-or-less final script for the movie, with Rosemary actually called Rosemary and Tony Robbins actually called Tony Robbins. (Early drafts of the script reportedly had Rosemary's name as Kimberly, and had a psychic in place of Tony Robbins.)  Here are some of the personally useful tidbits about the movie I've gleaned from reading this published shooting script:

Miscellany from an early draft of the script

I am the luckiest man on the planet. I have obtained, through arduous international channels, an early draft of the script to Shallow Hal. It was a late enough draft that the title reads Shallow Hal, not Eye of the Beholder, but it's still from much, much earlier than the published shooting script. Here are some of the things I discovered from reading this early draft script:

Shallow Hal 2 ?

As I said above, there probably won't be a Shallow Hal 2. But that won't stop me from dreaming about it. Here's a synopsis I came up with in 2003 for the pulse-pounding, senses-shattering sequel to the Greatest Movie of This Millennium:

Shallow Hal 2: Saving the World in Kiribati

On the plane into Kiribati, Hal and Rosemary are snuggling together. The ring on Rosemary's left middle finger has moved to her left ring finger, indicating that they're newlyweds. Rosemary has a good, hearty laugh about the spell Hal was under, and playfully taunts him about all those times Hal said she wasn't fat. "So, which supermodel did I look like?"  "Well ... not so much a supermodel as, well, you looked more like Gwyneth Paltrow. You know, back before she played that awful goth chick in Royal Tannenbaums."

But soon after they land and begin hauling crates of food and medical supplies, Hal is shocked to see the Thin Rosemary he remembered from his days under hypnosis! Horrified, he hunts for a pay phone — they don't have cell phone service in Kiribati — and calls Mauricio. "That stupid whammy is back! I can't see what people really look like any more!"  "You lucky dog, you get to have your old Rosey back! Who'd you say she looked like again, Gwyneth Paltrow?"  "No no no no, it's a big problem!  I don't recognize anybody any more, even the people I already know!"  "Sigh.  All right. I'll see if I can't track down Tony Robbins for you. Again.  You should put him on Speed Dial at this rate."

As Hal ventures back out into Rosemary and his Peace Corps buddies, he eventually discovers that his Inner Beauty Vision™ is coming and going at random intervals, and he can't control it! He has no idea when he meets someone whether his Inner Beaty Vision™ is on or off at the time. Hilarity ensues.

But the stakes get higher when he meets the new President-elect of Kiribati. The man looks like a disheveled, ratty, deformed hunchback, the ugliest person Hal has ever laid eyes on. But when the rest of his buddies all respond as though he was the most handsome man on the face of the planet, Hal realizes that he's seen what the man really "looks" like on the inside. He's the dirtiest scoundrel on the entire island, and he's fooled everyone into thinking he's a great guy. If he becomes president of Kiribati, the economic meltdown they're in the middle of will seem like a walk in the park compared to where that island-nation will be headed next. Will Hal be able to expose the shocking truth about Carabas's president before it's too late? Will anyone believe him? Will Mauricio be able to find Tony Robbins again, or will Hal have try to get the whammy removed by a local two-bit voodoo hypnotist who doubles as a tour guide?

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