Rating: 0 / 5
"I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" is the most homophobic pro-gay movie you will ever see. The film follows two veteran New York City fire fighters: Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James). Chuck is a bachelor and womanizer. The ultimate womanizer in fact; ladies want him so bad he can snap his fingers and twin sisters that were arguing with him one second over the fact that he's been sleeping with both of them will suddenly put away their feelings and make-out with each other for his enjoyment. It's not unusual for him to go to bed with 6 women at a time. Doesn't matter if he insults women or they don't seem to care for him at first, eventually they'll find themselves in his bedroom. Larry on the other hand is a widower who is trying to raise his two children. His wife died just over a year ago and he is still mourning her loss. During one of their shifts, a segment of flooring collapses and Chuck is nearly killed, but Larry saves him. After he recovers, Chuck promises that he will repay his old friend, no matter what. The incident brings to light the fact that Larry's life could be cut short at any time during the job. He realizes that because of some bullshit restrictions on his insurance policy, he will only be able to change the beneficiary (Which is currently his dead wife) if someone else dies, is born or he remarries. Yes, this movie is set in the land of comedic contrivance but nevertheless, Larry demands his debt be repaid and the two set up a fake marriage in order to trick the city of New York and the insurance company into thinking that the two of them are a legitimate couple. Comedic hi-jinks ensue as the two have to pretend to be homosexuals while under tight scrutiny.
When I say this movie is homophobic, I really mean it. The entire premise of the movie is basically "hey, wouldn't it be gross if two guys who didn't love each other had to do this?" or, "isn't it weird, how this person is acting in a way that seems a little gay?" I started a count; every time a joke along these lines came up I counted and my final tally is 40. 40 jokes along the lines of: Gay guys like Brokeback Mountain, Gay guys do musical theatre, another word for gay is "fairy", our garbage needs to be more gay and that sort of thing. The movie also liberally uses the word "faggot" throughout, by Chuck mostly. Yes, at the end of the movie they have a big message about it being a derogative term that you shouldn't use but that raises another huge problem with the film. A recurring issue in the story is that Chuck and Larry's newly exposed relationship is ostracizing them from the rest of the non-gay community. Their co-workers don't want to shower with them anyone, people look at them funny and overall, they are being treated unfairly the moment anyone finds out they are gay (we never see their family and appear to have no friends out of work but everyone appears to have a problem with their lifestyle if they aren't directly tied into the gay community). They are even confronted by a group of religious extremists who protest a gay benefit party. Because every Adam Sandler film is required to have someone receive a vicious beating, the offending minister gets punched in the face. No complaints here but the event is published in the newspaper and the two become heroes for the gay community. They become symbols of the injustice that homosexual couples have to deal with because of the way they are now treated. Sounds like the movie has a good message about showing people what bigotry really feels like right? Wrong. Here's the problem: these guys are not gay! There's no twist at the end where the two of them fall in love with each other. We never even get to see the two actors kiss because I'm sure Adam Sandler thought it would tarnish his reputation as a macho guy (seriously, we get it, you like women. There's no need to have a joke where you slept with 4 women on the same day where you got married to your "boyfriend"). Furthermore, the fact that these two become celebrities feels really unsettling. Good thing we've got some nice "normal" straight people to come save the gays! Otherwise well, they'd probably just act like responsible adults and NOT assault people!
I realize that this film wasn't made to be insulting, but it just comes off that way. It never feels like Chuck and Larry really learn that just because your sexual preference swings one way or another you shouldn't be treated any differently than everyone else. Even Larry, the most sensible of the two nervously goes to the bathroom at the gay benefit party. He checks to make sure no one is in there before he unzips to use the urinal. Why? Did he think that he would be so appealing that gay men would suddenly turn into raging bags of testosterone and rape him? What the film thinks are hilarious jokes actually turn out to be tired stereotypes, to the point of being offensive. All of the guys seen at the gay pride benefit party are dressing up in bunny or fairy costumes, prance around with mesh shirts and get excited when someone bends over (check out the shower scene at the fire station, that's just embarrassing). The stereotypes aren'T limited to just the gay men though. There aren't a lot of lesbians to be found in the film but every single one of them are uber-hot DD babes taken right out of a cheap porno.
Maybe you can handle all of that garbage, but the movie isn't funny. It's the same jokes you've seen in every Happy Madison Production. Making fun of fat people (like Kevin James, he's fat! Let's make a joke about that 9 times!), making fun of ethnicities (The maid isn't white so Larry suspects she's into Voodoo), children saying inappropriate things (in a "career day" class where these child actors clearly don't understand what they're saying because no kid talks like that). As you can expect we get a scene where Sandler shows off his awesome sports skills (basketball once again) but not much product placement though so I guess that's an improvement. Maybe to you someone nearly burning to death because he's morbidly obese is funny, but I just found it depressing. It's not enough that we get the same Sandler-isms everyone older than 16 has gotten tired of, but we a slew of bad sex jokes too. We are constantly bombarded with scenes where Chuck shows that he is so straight that he'll sleep with ANYTHING and squeeze inbetween we get jokes about how much he loves his pornography. Pornography that is being sent in the mail and labelled "Pornography" by the way (uh oh, don't let your kids see that Larry!). Also particularly offensive, not only because it's not funny but because it's just straight-up racist is Rob Schneider donning make up to make him look like an Asian stereotype. When Chuck and Larry go up to Canada to get married, they find a wedding chapel headed by Schneider (who is, as far as I can tell about as white as Casper the friendly ghost) who might as well be saying "Chuck and Lally, I now plonounce you husband and husband, would you like some chopsticks and rice now?". How many death threats director Dennis Dugan received over that one I don't even want to know.
The offenses to your intelligence just keep coming. It's not enough that Chuck is so "unbelievably handsome" that he can get any woman he wants but the movie has the audacity to throw in an unbelievable love plot. Chuck and Larry have hired Alex (Jessica Biel) to help them with any legal battles that may arise from their "relationship". Despite the fact that she's their lawyer and that Chuck clearly has commitment issues, we get that old "she's the game changer, she's the one!" story, combined with that "misunderstanding" where the guy pretends to be the gay best friend and gets to see the woman prancing around in her underwear while she tries on new clothes and even gets to fondle her breasts because "that won't affect him" sort of deal. But wait, will she be able to forgive him for all of the lies he's been telling her when the shoe drops? Oh please tell me she'll be able to forgive him! Instead of that tired old song, how about some moments where we get to see Chuck and Larry actually bonding and becoming friends? We're told from the beginning of the film that they're best buds, but there's very little evidence to prove that, just jokes from Chuck at the expense of Larry about the fact that his "husband" is fat, that his wife is dead and that his son is acting effeminate. There's no reason to like these guys, particularly when they are cheating the city to get some phoney benefits. The storytellers knew this though, which is why they introduce Steve Buscemi as Clinton Fitzer, a guy who works for the city and specializes in doing his job and exposing fraud! It isn't enough for him to be opposed to our criminal protagonists though, they throw in a couple lines at the last second where the actor has to reluctantly throw in a couple of homosexual slurs to show he's a villain. It's the kind of movie where everyone in this make-believe universe will forgive the betrayal because we want the audience to leave with a smile. How do you make your shitty homophobic movie tolerable? Just throw in a "For your information, the acceptable vernacular is gay" (not faggot) and a message about how all you need is love or some nonsense like that. That will wipe the memory of how Chuck is just as afraid of any "Homopalooza" as the rest of the bigoted villains in the film from the die-hard Adam Sandler fans that will forgive anything with that wretched "Happy Madison" logo at the beginning.
"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" is an unfunny comedy and that should be enough for it not to warrant any attention but even worse, it's also offensive. It really feels like the stars where caught on tape making a homophobic rant and when they realized it could end their career, they made this movie in a hurry in case they couldn't buy off the blackmailers. I realize the film was probably made with some good intentions and that there's a chance it will teach a few of the troglodytes that think everything Happy Madison makes is gold a lesson, but seriously, can you imagine this movie if the two were pretending to be say a black couple? People would be rioting in the streets, burning down theatres and hanging effigies of Adam Sandler and Kevin James from trees. I say pretend that is the case and give the people who worked on this film the punishment they deserve: write off Happy Madison and anyone who was stupid enough to be associated with this movie as the vermin they truly are and boycott their work until they pay back with interest each and every miserable soul that sat through more than a minute of this film. I absolutely hated it and you should too. (Theatrical version on Dvd, October 16, 2013