Shallow Hal is a powerful movie about the value of inner beauty, but sometimes kids can misinterpret its heartwarming message. If you just watched Shallow Hal with your son, look for these five signs that he didn’t quite pull the right lessons from the film.
1. Your son is desperately trying to contact Jack Black to find out if Jack sees him as skinny or fat
You’ll know immediately that your son didn’t understand Shallow Hal’s empowering message if he starts frantically posting pictures of himself on Jack Black’s Facebook page with the caption “Am I small or huge to you, Jack?” That kind of behavior clearly demonstrates that your son didn’t pick up on how Hal visualizes fat people as skinny because he’s looking at a physical manifestation of their inner beauty—which is pretty much the whole point of the movie. Consider sitting your son down and explaining that conceit to him again. After all, it is your duty as a parent to make sure your kid understands the positive lessons to be learned from Shallow Hal.
2. Your son is building an industrial-strength chair that can support even the most obese people in the world
In Shallow Hal, Rosalie (Gwyneth Paltrow) breaks several chairs just by sitting on them, and although this is just intended as a gag to illustrate her large size, your son seems to think it’s a pressing real-world issue that he needs to solve by creating an indestructible chair. Sure, it’s possible that he’s building the chair because the movie inspired him to accept all body types. But if he’s spending most of his free time taking welding classes and researching the world’s most durable metals, it’s likely he’s only doing it because his main takeaway from the movie was the frequently breaking furniture. Assure him chairs don’t collapse as often as the movie would suggest, and maybe review the film’s body-positive lesson while you’re at it.
3. Your son is trying to gain 300 pounds so his cannonballs can catapult someone out of a pool
It definitely looked awesome when Rosalie jumped into the pool and made such a big splash that it rocketed a boy into a tree, but that doesn’t mean putting yourself on a 15,000-calorie-per-day diet to gain 300 pounds in order to replicate the move is what you should do after watching Shallow Hal. In fact, someone who truly understands the film’s moral core will love their body the way it is, even if it doesn’t allow them do a cannonball so forceful it launches a kid 25 feet into the air. If your child is attempting to triple his body weight by summer to recreate that iconic Shallow Hal scene, now’s the time for you to intervene and do some explaining about the film’s real meaning.
4. Your son refuses to take elevators because he thinks Tony Robbins is a wizard who lives inside them
If your son won’t get within 10 feet of an elevator because he doesn’t want to “get cursed by that awful wizard Tony Robbins,” then he’s miles away from comprehending Shallow Hal. Think about scheduling a rewatch.
5. Your son obsessively looks at his ass with a hand mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a tail
Sorry, but your son definitely didn’t pull the right message from Shallow Hal if his biggest concern after seeing it is whether or not he’s got a tail like Jason Alexander’s character. Had he really understood what the movie was saying, he’d know that even if he did have a tail, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that. Next time you see him with his ass in the air trying to angle a hand mirror to get a better look at what’s going on down there, remind him that it’s only what’s on the inside that counts—that’s the Shallow Hal way!