I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Here’s a “gay” movie for straight people minus the homophobic guilt. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is the everyday man’s attempt to understand what gay people in the West have been fighting for for many years.
Best friends Larry (Kevin James) and Chuck (Adam Sandler) are typical Brooklyn firefighters who do very manly stuff everyday. Chuck is the playboy ladies man while recently widowed Larry raises his two kids by himself.
An insurance loophole prevents Larry from transferring his dead wife’s benefits to his children, so he asks Chuck to pretend to be his gay domestic partner so he can still apply for the benefits.
Enter a very nosy anti-fraud investigator Fitzer (Steve Buscemi) who’s dying to prosecute the two as soon as he proves the partnership is a fake. Larry and Chuck then hire lawyer Alex (Jessica Biel) to help them prove their gayness to the City, except Chuck has the hots for super sexy Alex. Worse, their firefighter boss Capt. Tucker (Dan Aykroyd) wants Larry and Chuck to spill the beans.
The mixups are cleared in time for a straight ending to the tune of George Michael’s Freedom, but not before Chuck and Larry declare their undying love in front of a courtroom full of people. Openly gay celebs Richard Chamberlain and former ‘N Sync Lance Bass make cameo appearances.
The movie is filled with homophobic slurs and takes aim at stereotypes and then retracts the insults to preach tolerance in the end. As a message movie it only skims the surface of gender politics. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is less about gay marriage and more about name-calling.
As a comedy it is only funny in a freshman level; you’ll laugh at the physical comedy and sometimes at the verbal ones, and in case you missed a point – like the vampire and fruit costumes – they’d be glad to explain it overtly in the same scene.
Producer Adam Sandler miscasts himself as the studmuffin chick magnet – something Ben Stiller or Owen Wilson or Vince Vaughn might have pulled off more convincingly. Sandler even gets to touch Biel’s breasts while pretending to be gay about it. How believably funny is that? Ving Rhames steals the show at some point as the muscular big guy grinding his hips and singing I’m Every Woman in the locker room shower while the rest of the firefighters stare in shock.
Nowadays it’s everyone’s big business to know whether Piolo or Sam or whoever is gay. Some weird pandemic curiosity to put a tag on everyone. That’s exactly what I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is about. Tagging everyone. This movie is not about gay marital rights, it’s more like a straight comedy gone a little askew.
Go ahead and laugh. It is funny, in a thoughtless, juvenile way. Just don’t pretend the prejudice wasn’t there – it’s hidden deep inside your closet.