Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The kids are fine; it's the viewers who get burned

I'm appalled at this egregious example of incompetent editing in the CITY-TV broadcast of Shallow Hal.

If you haven't seen it, the premise is that Jack Black's character, Hal, is placed under a spell that causes him to perceive people's inner beauty rather than their exterior appearances, and he subsequently falls in love with Rosemary, a morbidly obese woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

In one scene, Hal and Rosemary visit a bunch of cute kids in the hospital and have a grand old time. As they're leaving, Rosemary gushes all over Hal about how wonderful he'd been with the children, and how he was just what they'd needed: a stranger who wasn't afraid of them. "What's to be afraid of?" Hal wonders as they pass through the doors, and the camera pans up to reveal ...

... a split-second glimpse of the bottom of a sign, and then we quickly cut to the next scene.

If I recall correctly (and perhaps I don't), the uncut film shows a full shot of the sign, which says "BURN WARD". The adorable tots with whom Hal had been romping and playing "the kissing game" had, in actuality, been horribly scarred. But apparently, as part of an overzealous effort to edit the film's running length by a couple of seconds, some hack film editor at CITY-TV cut out the whole point of the scene.


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