Plot: Larry (Kevin James) and Chuck (Adam Sandler) are best friends and firefighters. They would do anything for each other, so when Larry loses his insurance benefits because of civic red tape, he convinces Chuck to become his domestic partner. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy as that when a bureaucrat (Steve Buscemi) comes sniffing around, Larry and Chuck are forced to act like they are in love. This proves especially difficult when Chuck starts falling for the lawyer (Jessica Biel) hired to help them. Who’s it for: This film is for people that still think slurs are funny but realize it’s not politically correct.
Expectations: Would this film just be a slew of bad gay jokes directed at a society that isn’t ready to deal with equality? Or would it rise above? I had two hours to find out.
Adam Sandler as Chuck Levine: Chuck’s idea of a joke is to imitate Larry’s dead wife. There is a way to be likeable AND a pig (Denis Leary of “Rescue Me”), but Sandler doesn’t have it here. Sandler’s career is full of hits (“Punch Drunk Love,” “Billy Madison”) but this film will be added to the misses. Grade: 2
Kevin James as Larry Valentine: James is the best part of the film. He has that everyman quality that immediately makes you cheer for him. But this isn’t a movie that allows you too many of those moments. Grade: 4
Rest of the cast: Jessica Biel comes off more like a high school cheerleader than a lawyer. And then there are a slew of small roles, which are fun to see but don’t offer many laughs, with David Spade, Ving Rhames, Dave Matthews, Rob Corddry, Rachel Dratch, Richard Chamberlain, Lance Bass and Dan Aykroyd. But none manage to offend more than Rob Schneider as an Asian wedding conductor. Grade: 2
Talking: Almost every line is offensive, but they try to get away with it under the guise that Chuck is a womanizer and doesn’t know any better. On top of all that there seems to be a complete lack of a gay point of view. Grade: 2
Sights and sounds: Yes, Jessica Biel has an outstanding body. But even the scene where she parades around half naked is simply to see her parade around half naked. Point please. Grade: 4
Worst Scene: There is a moment when Chuck and Larry walk into the firehouse shower and soap is dropped. Apparently, being around two gay guys is just like those prison stories.
Ending: Adam Sandler is now the proud owner of the two worst courtroom scenes of 2007. First “Reign Over Me” and now this one.
Random Thoughts: Sandler’s character is a sexaholic who drops derogatory terms and makes fun of minorities every chance he gets, plus he always gets what he wants. How in the world will the audience find him endearing? Is it just because he was Happy Gilmore?
Rewatchability: No. Nope. Not going to happen.
There was a chance “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” could have been a good film. But I needed much more than slurs and two best friends being uncomfortable with the prospect of kissing each other to avoid jail. The plot is a gimmick that causes way too many problems, and no friend of Chuck’s should think he’s gay for one second. In fact, no one should. They could have focused more on the similarities of best friends and a gay couple, or done a much better job with an “Odd Couple”-type movie. Instead, they just try to offend everyone in sight and then act sorry at the end.
Overall Grade: 2