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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.31%
Worth A Look: 16.9%
Just Average: 12.68%
Pretty Crappy: 5.63%

5 reviews, 41 user ratings

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I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
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by Peter Sobczynski

"The Not-So-Gay Deceivers"
1 stars

Once upon a time, back in the mists of time known as 1969, there was a cheesy low-budget comedy entitled “The Gay Deceivers” that told the harrowing story of a couple of straight guys who pretend to be gay to avoid the draft and who then find themselves in the midst of any number of wacky hijinks involving their sexuality before learning valuable lessons about some damn thing or other. Released to vast indifference just before the Stonewall uprising rendered it obsolete and rarely revived since, it is the kind of movie that if you were to somehow encounter a few minutes of it today, you might stare at it in sheer stupefaction before turning it off and if you were in a generous mood, you might consider that it was made in a different time and consider yourself lucky that you live in a more enlightened age where such a film could no longer be made. Alas, the more some things change, the more other things stay the same and as proof of that, we now have “I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry,” a relentlessly juvenile, bottomlessly offensive and pathetically unfunny comedy about gay panic that makes “The Gay Deceivers” look like “Brokeback Mountain” by comparison. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that this is the worst film playing at a theater near you this weekend, even if your local multiplex has held over “Captivity” for a second week and is sponsoring a revival of the director’s cut of “Manos: The Hands of Fate.”

The film stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James as Chuck Levine and Larry Valentine, two New York City firefighters who are best pals despite their differences–Chuck is a studly ladies man who shuttles lingerie-clad bimbos in and out of his bedroom in groups of two and four (a development that can only be explained by the fact that Sandler is one of the producers of the film) while Larry is an amiable dope who is trying to raise his two kids, a tomboy daughter and a son who, horror of horrors, prefers musical theater to Little League, while mourning the death of his beloved wife three years earlier. Due to the kind of bureaucratic red tape that is so often found in one-note comedies, Larry discovers that since he never updated his insurance forms in the wake of his wife’s death, his children will not receive any of his benefits if he is killed while on duty. Under normal circumstances, someone in Larry’s position might raise a few complaints, perhaps talk to a newspaper reporter and otherwise stir up such a fuss that the snafu would be eliminated in a heartbeat.

Of course, if he did that, there would be no movie–an excellent idea under the circumstances–so he instead focuses on the fact that if he marries again, that person will get his benefits and his kids will be provided for if he dies. The hitch is that he won’t even look at another woman and the only person that he trusts is best pal Chuck. This might seem strange since this best pal spends an enormous amount of time mocking Larry’s weight and making snide cracks about his son’s possible sexuality but again, this can all be explained by the fact that Sandler is one of the producers and therefore, every nasty and hateful thing he says is apparently meant to be charming and endearing. Like most right-thinking people in the audience, Chuck thinks that this is a stupid and ill-advised idea but when Larry assures him that it will involve nothing more than signing a couple of pieces of paper and forwarding his mail for a few weeks, he grudgingly agrees.

Almost immediately, their domestic partnership is challenged by the state government, which suspects a scam, and they send out a creepy inspector (Steve Buscemi) who is determined to throw them in prison for fraud. At first, they figure that all they have to do is “act gay” (i.e. buying lots of KY jelly, Q-Tips and copies of “Brokeback Mountain”) but when that doesn’t seem to be working, their hottie attorney, Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel) advises them to make a formal show of their “relationship” and so they travel up to Canada to get married. Eventually word begins to leak out about their supposed relationship and Chuck and Larry get to learn all about the horrors of anti-gay prejudice when their firehouse pals don’t want to play basketball with them anymore. To make matters worse, for the characters and those of us in the audience, Chuck finds himself falling in love with Alex–the kind of hard-nosed attorney who invites a client for a “girls day out,” strips to her skivvies in front of him and insists that he feel her up to prove that her breasts are real (can’t wait to see how that gets listed on the billing sheets)–but can’t do anything without blowing the entire deal.

Eventually, the deal is more or less blown and the whole thing wraps up with that most desperate of movie climaxes, the courtroom scene. Many an Adam Sandler film has ended with some form of a courtroom scene but outside of the one in “Reign Over Me,” I can’t think of one that has actually contained any real laughs and this is no exception. This is bad enough but what is even more insulting is the way that the film spends nearly two hours trafficking in every gay stereotype and insult imaginable (references to “butt pirates,” a bit in which soap is indeed dropped in the shower and cameo appearances from Sandler buddies David Spade and Nick Swardson as mincing fops) and then tries to make up for it in the end by having Sandler’s character say “The word ‘faggot’ is bad” as though that will somehow excuse the dozens of times it (and worse) were uttered earlier on. (Apparently it works because as a result, they suddenly and improbably become heroes amongst the very same gay population whom they have been mocking and exploiting.)

As idiotic and potentially tasteless as the premise of two straight guys who are assumed to be gay might sound, it could have theoretically inspired a funny film if it had been dealt with in a witty and intelligent matter. (I point you to that classic “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry and George were “outed” by a newspaper reporter.) However, it appears that wit and intelligence were tossed into the closet early on in favor of the kind of broad, stereotypical and borderline homophobic humor that the typical Sandler frat-boy audience would more readily respond to and which recently made a disturbingly popular comeback in the recent “Wild Hogs.” If you can think of a joke, cliche or derogatory term involving gays (while still keeping within the bounds of the all-important PG-13 rating), you will surely find it here.

I take that back–there is one that you won’t see here and that would be the inevitable moment when the manly Sandler character finds himself actually kissing a man. The film sets us up for it a couple of times–once during the wedding ceremony and later during the interminable courtroom scene–but chickens out on both occasions by interrupting the potential smooch by deploying, respectively, a slap to the face and a sanctimonious speech by Dan Aykroyd. I’m not saying that I am particularly eager to witness the sight of Adam Sandler kissing a man (or anyone else for that matter) but the film goes so far out of its way to ensure that it doesn’t happen that the absence of such a scene is enough to raise some eyebrows. My suspicion is that such a moment existed in an earlier draft of the screenplay but that Sandler nixed it out of fear that his fans would violently reject it, even after being reminded that “the word ‘faggot’ is bad.”

Despite the rampant homophobia in the film, I understand from on-line reports that Sandler showed the film to GLADD in order to prevent them from picketing screenings. Having seen the film, the only possible explanation for GLADD’s refusal to complain about the content is that when they saw it, they realized that the film is an equal-opportunity offender that takes cruel potshots at virtually every other group imaginable–perhaps realizing that he can’t do these dumb frat-boy comedies forever, perhaps Sandler decided to have one less blow out in which he could make cruel fun of everyone who isn’t Adam Sandler or Rudy Giuliani (who receives a bizarre late-inning shout-out that his presidential campaign probably won’t be knocking themselves over to exploit anytime soon). The women are all lightly-clad bimbos (and while I appreciate Biel’s willingness to show off her body in an otherwise undeserving film, I could get the same thing, along with better writing, by going down to the newsstand and picking up the latest “GQ), the lone black character (Ving Rhames) is a threatening hulk (at least until his “shocking” secret is revealed) and the fat people are all monstrous blobs who demand hero sandwiches even as they are being pulled from burning buildings. However, the worst and most offensive moment in a film rife with offensive moments comes when Rob Schneider pops up to play an Asian justice of the peace in a manner that hasn’t been seen since those old Warner Brothers cartoons that now inspire disclaimers from Whoopi Goldberg when they appear on DVD–the sight of him crossing his R’s and L’s while peering through extra-thick glasses is so unfunny that you want to yank him out from performing the service and replace him with the guy from “License to Wed.”

Deeply offensive, painfully unfunny, patently insincere, indifferently and amazingly overlong at nearly two hours, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” could well turn out to be the single worst film of 2007 or, at the very least, the worst film of 2007 not named “Norbit.” It is a career low point for virtually everyone involved (yes, even Nick Swardson) and the fact that such a film could be financed and released by a major studio in this day and age is almost unspeakably depressing. If all of this has failed to convince you that attending this film might not be the wisest deployment of your entertainment budget this weekend, let me offer up one last thought to try to steer you away from it: if I ever found myself in a position where I had to either sit through this film again or rewatch “Boat Trip,” the infamous Cuba Gooding Jr. film that everyone just assumed would be the absolute worst gay panic film ever made, I would actually have to think it over for a while before deciding.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15745&reviewer=389
originally posted: 07/20/07 00:35:40
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User Comments

7/19/15 Bernie Great review - you said it perfectly! 1 stars
5/29/15 Nana you are a stupid reviewer. can't an attorney (biel) feel free anymore 5 stars
5/31/09 Chuck Im sick of dan akroid 1 stars
5/13/09 art the only good thing about this mess,was JESSICA BIEL"S FACE AND BODY! 1 stars
4/28/09 Fadian Terrible film but Kevin James is gorgeous. 5 stars
3/07/09 SandySue Like Adam Sandler, but this was horrible! Stupid,stupid,stupid! 1 stars
1/20/09 mr.mike Ending a comedy with a long , boring city council hearing is never a good idea. 3 stars
10/20/08 Shaun Wallner Great Film! 5 stars
9/12/08 lisa absolutely cracked me up!!!!! 5 stars
8/23/08 Brent This is really really close to Battlefield Earth for the worst movie ever made. Awful. 1 stars
6/06/08 TreeTiger Mark my words - this movie will make you cringe so many times..! 1 stars
4/10/08 Marcus It's pretty funny! 4 stars
3/23/08 ladavies Bad idea all the way around 1 stars
2/12/08 elisa perkins It was just bad. Bad. 1 stars
1/21/08 Jayson The movie's just eewwy!! 2 stars
11/30/07 Francisova Sisi Hardly atones for half of stereotypes invoked;bestpart's view ofJessica Biel's caca-kissers 2 stars
11/21/07 fools♫gold funniest Sandler of ... well, for a while 4 stars
10/23/07 William Goss Typically moronic homophobia antics, capped w/ a sermon on political correctness, natch. 2 stars
9/27/07 Rob Thompson Hear hear, about as painful as a bullet to the head. 1 stars
8/17/07 Dark Enchantress funny ass movie! 5 stars
8/15/07 Monika this movie was hilarious and i coulndt stop lauging 5 stars
8/15/07 Ashley Perfect team 4 the perfect movie!!! I wouldnt want anything changed cept 4 Sandler 2b w/ me 5 stars
8/10/07 kelsey amazing movie. hilarious! those of you who can't appreciate humor, get over yourselves. 5 stars
7/31/07 Kirsten AMAZING ! HILARIOUS ! 5 stars
7/30/07 Jason J. ( www.jasonj.biz ) Definitely a "Hollywood" product but great light on the topic and LOTS of laughs! 4 stars
7/28/07 Gypsy If I could give less than one star I woould! This is GAY BASHING! BIGOTRY IS NOT FUNNY!!! 1 stars
7/28/07 Zaw This movie sucked! Some funny parts but too much sandler 1 stars
7/27/07 Daave what is the collective IQ of the people posting here? Sometimes I am scared shitless. 1 stars
7/27/07 Hello Stranger this movie feels lame right through to the end. 1 stars
7/25/07 Dark Enchantress very funny! 5 stars
7/25/07 Jackie I love Adam Sandler, huge fan! He looked soooo good in this movie!!! 5 stars
7/25/07 Jared Miller This "critic" is trying too hard and is out of touch with the real person. Good movie. 4 stars
7/25/07 Diane Eral I love this movie...we all need humor in our life! 4 stars
7/24/07 Bekah. This movie made me cry with laughter. 5 stars
7/24/07 Meschelle Funny but a little over done 3 stars
7/24/07 Lewis Making derogatory jokes 3/4 of the movie and then saying that is bad doesn't make up for it 1 stars
7/23/07 simon THIS MOVIE WASS FUNNYY!!!!! 5 stars
7/23/07 caiphn I think tards should keep their opinions to themselves. 2 stars
7/22/07 Random the turn by Dave Matthews & others earn 3 stars 3 stars
7/20/07 Anna I thought it was funny and had a nice message. Funny with great music too! 4 stars
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  DVD: 06-Nov-2007



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