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I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Rated PG-13, 140 min. Directed by Dennis Dugan. Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Aykroyd, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Richard Chamberlain, Lance Bass, Dave Matthews, Rob Schneider, Nick Swardson.

REVIEWED By Toddy Burton, Fri., July 20, 2007

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry There was a time when “ladies man” meant Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot, seducing secretaries with his eyes and his wit. Not so by today’s standards. Sandler (Click) plays Chuck, a ladies man who collects enormous boxes of porn and frequently can be seen with half a dozen Hooters girls in his bedroom. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Adam Sandler. And not just his wonderful turn in Punch Drunk Love. Give me Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore any day. And on a lazy Sunday, I’m not above sitting back to enjoy The Wedding Singer. But Sandler is funny as much as he is awkward. His raw humor works so well because it’s countered with a childish innocence that would rather throw water balloons at the Hooters girls than have them all in his bedroom at once. Then there’s Larry (The King of Queens’ James). Sweet and dopey, Larry has been mourning the death of his wife for more than a year. Chuck and Larry are best friends, manly men, and Brooklyn firefighters. When Larry can’t change the beneficiary of his insurance policy to his kids unless he gets married, he decides to marry Chuck for the benefits. But after the nuptials, the two men have to settle into married life for real in order to prove their legitimacy to a snoopy city inspector (Buscemi). Enter Biel (The Illusionist), a young lawyer with a great ass who steals Chuck’s heart. As Chuck and Larry fight prejudice from strangers, friends, and co-workers, the movie turns from wild farce to gay-agenda movie. There’s actually a speech at the end where Chuck bemoans the use of the word “faggot,” one he so readily threw around at the beginning of the film. It’s a weak moment in a movie full of weak moments, contrived to the point of painful. And then there are the cameos. Everyone from Lance Bass and Richard Chamberlain to Dave Matthews wanted a piece of this mess. The strange cherry on top is that the screenplay was co-written by Academy Award-winning writer/director Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) and his writing partner, Jim Taylor. Of course they brought in the talents of a former Golden Girls scribe to help out, which makes a little more sense. But the A-B-C plot plus every dick, butt, and fart joke in the book, divided by an effort to proclaim that this is really all about gay rights, equals a flick to skip this summer.
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