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Tuesday July 24, 2007 12:37 am

REVIEW: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Chuck and Larry cake

When Larry Valentine (Kevin James), an NYPD fireman and father of two, discovers his children will no longer be pension beneficiaries after the death of his wife, he must find a way to protect them should something happen to him.  After saving the life of his longtime friend and co-worker Chuck Levine (), Larry hatches a plan and convinces Chuck to become his domestic partner – much to Chuck’s chagrin.  Everything seems easy at first, but soon the men are challenged by the city of New York and must go to extreme lengths to keep up the charade.  Sexy lawyer Alex McDonough () steps in to help the gentlemen, but Chuck has a hard time keeping his eyes (and hands) off of the only person with the ability to help them refute the skepticism.

Although Chuck and Larry attempts to show the difficulties homosexuals still have being accepted in society, the themes are contradicted by numerous (and horribly dated) gay jokes and derogatory terms audiences will first find mildly amusing, then awkward and discomforting.

Like all other Happy Madison productions, Chuck and Larry feels like a concept invented during a Vegas road trip or a beer–soaked poker game — a lot of low–brow jokes with tacked–on pathos.  And while the film does make a valid attempt at exploring the difficulties gay men and women have finding acceptance . . . wait, let me start again: While it attempts to show the difficulties two straight men have pretending to be gay (not a common struggle to my knowledge), the film ultimately can’t find the balance between these issues and the comedy that degrades them.  The relentless jokes and bad puns about being gay only seem to be conjured up by a bunch of straight men who have absolutely no idea what being homosexual entails, and the audience is forced to accept the comedy only because the main characters have co–opted, or have at least pretended to co–opt, the gay lifestyle.

Although Happy Madison does tread new ground with this outlandish story, it can’t break out of it’s predictable blueprint: same familiar faces that add nothing to the film except the occasional, “Hey, it’s that guy . . . from those other forgettable Sandler movies;” silly cameos from recognizable actors saying or doing something offensive; and bits of comedic fluff that seem funny at first, but end up recurring throughout the film until becoming brow–furrowing.

The only redeeming quality here is a bit of heart, if not a contrived bit.  Will the film open any eyes or change any minds?  No.  Is it supposed to?  Evidently not.  But I can’t help but feel that, regarding the issue of gay rights, a step in no direction is still a step backward in this day and age.

Even the ever–likable Kevin James couldn’t save this sad excuse for a comedy.


Director:

  • Dennis Dugan

Cast:

  • Adam Sandler
  • Kevin James
  • Jessica Biel
  • Dan Aykroyd
  • Ving Rames
  • Steve Buscemi

Rated PG–13

 

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