I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (6/10)

‘ll admit, the trailers made me laugh. I’ll admit, the idea of the whole thing intrigued me. I’ll admit, even all the abysmally crappy reviews did little to deter my enthusiasm for this film. I’ll admit another thing: the movie made me laugh. Despite being fairly obtuse in terms of sensitivity to homosexuality and getting too preachy in the last over-extended forty minutes, Chuck & Larry is a fairly harmless comedic romp with two very experienced comedians who know every beat by heart and line by name.

Adam Sandler is Chuck, a homophobic manliest of men firemen, who sleeps with half a dozen women a week and consistently makes jokes jabbing gays. Kevin James is Larry, a widowed husband caring for two kids, who is not a womanizer like Chuck but still fairly prejudiced against homosexuality. Because of some financial difficulties, though, that come about through a rather far-fetched plot device, the two must go into a domestic partnership together so that Larry’s kids can have someone to care for them if he dies in the line of duty. Never mind that Chuck is just as likely to die as Harry, as they are in the same line of work, but minor plot quibbles like this are insignificant compared to how much this movie made me laugh.

I have no problem understanding why critics everywhere hated this movie. The homophobic jokes come at a consistent and, if looked at in the right way, annoying pace. James’s and Sandler’s characters are obtuse in their prejudices, up until the predictable point where they begin to experience some gay bashing themselves, which effectively teaches them the error of their ways and that yes, gays are people too. Sound offensive? Probably. Cheap? Surely. Funny? You bet. I’m not gonna lie, I laughed a lot during this movie. Normally I find Sandler kind of annoying, but he kept me reliably entertained. James is just as talented, if not more so, and the chemistry between the two is perfect for their roles. The low quality of this movie is unquestionable, but the enjoyment factor is completely dependent on your attitude. I don’t have to agree with the prejudices portrayed in the movie to laugh at them. I can look past the see-through message of “be nice go gays.” It’s a one joke premise, pure and simple, and the movie never explores it beyond the “haha these guys are uncomfortable acting gay” bit. Blades of Glory was a one-joke premise too, though, and it received better critical ratings.

One thing that I really didn’t like was Jessica Biel’s character, Alex, the lawyer, who is hired to protect Chuck & Larry from a snooping claim agent who is making sure they are actually gay. Chuck, of course, develops a massive crush on her and, because she believes he is gay, is privy to her, well, privvies. In one absolutely unbelievable scene Alex undresses completely in front of Chuck and forces him to feel her breasts, give her a foot rub, and teach her how to please a man, all exclaimed in a girly, “oh you’re gay so you can do anything to me” voice. Nobody in their right mind would believe Chuck is gay for a second, but Alex falls for the act completely and her character is, subsequently, a naive little nymph simply put on screen for sex appeal. There are two other inspired roles in the film: Dan Aykroyd as the fire chief and Ving Rhames as a closet homosexual. Neither of them is technically truly funny, but because of the sheer ludicrousness and badness of the movie, their roles work, and they have complete fun with them.

Now, let me state very clearly, that I do not think this film is good. What could have been an intelligent commentary on our prejudices towards the homosexuality community instead becomes an hour and fifty minutes of gay bashing. And what’s with comedies always going to at least the 110 minute mark these days? What happened to the good old fashioned hour and a half of simple comedy that didn’t overstay its welcome by a good twenty minutes? Despite its flaws, though, Chuck & Larry can easily be enjoyed if you just go into it and check all your reservations at the door, because if you want to, you will hate this movie. I wasn’t sure what to think, and I ended up actually enjoying myself. Don’t let the hype (or lack of same) keep you from watching two very talented comedians do what they do best.

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