I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director:
Dennis Dugan

Starring:
Adam Sandler…Chuck Levine
Kevin James…Larry Valentine
Jessica Biel…Alex McDonaugh

DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
Run time: 116 minutes

The Movie

Adam Sandler has made some very wise career choices recently: The quirky Punch-Drunk Love, the Capra-esque but overly hyped Click, the sappy yet sweet 50 First Dates, the more realistic than we’d like Spanglish. He’s been the comedian for Generation X; we’ve grown up with him. We’ve seen him grow from Theo’s buddy on The Cosby Show to SNL to Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of Sandler’s. No matter what he does, he almost always makes me laugh. And yet, for every Reign Over Me there is always a Mr. Deeds or an I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

This is an atrocity of a comedy, if you can even call it that. Comedies are supposed to make you laugh, especially Adam Sandler comedies. The jokes are simply not funny. The gay jokes are tired. Hasn’t America seen enough of this? Will and Grace has come and gone. Isn’t tolerance much higher than this film implies? Since Chuck and Larry are New York City firemen, they are supposed to be manly men. Instead, they are posing as a married couple, and for that, they are shunned by their co-workers. They are teased and rejected to a point that makes the film seem very outdated in its message of tolerance.

Aside from the gay jokes, the rest of the film’s humor comes from Chuck and his pre-Larry lifestyle. Chuck was a womanizer. He can’t help but stare longingly and make sex jokes about every woman he meets. This of course makes his relationship with Larry that much more difficult for him to handle. Chuck is the character played by Adam Sandler. Sandler typically plays characters that are jerks. He makes obscene jokes, he makes rude comments, he overcomes some sort of obstacle, end of movie. But usually his characters have some sort of endearing quality that makes them lovable despite the shortcomings. Chuck is more of a cross between Quagmire from Family Guy and Andrew Dice Clay. A womanizing a-hole. A very disappointing character for Sandler.

Kevin James, usually hysterical in his stand-up and lovingly oafish in The King of Queens, is just awkward as Larry. His jokes seem forced and he just looks uncomfortable through the entire movie. Jessica Biel as the lawyer defending the “marriage” of Chuck and Larry is completely unconvincing. Her best scene is after she and Sandler get caught in the rain and she strips down to her undies to change clothes. Possibly the only reason she got the role.

The best part of the film is the supporting cast. With such a terrible and unfunny script, it’s amazing how many great actors they got. Dan Akroyd plays the chief at the Fire Department, Ving Rhames plays a fireman ready to come out of the closet, Dave Matthews (yes, that Dave Matthews) plays a clothing store worker, Richard Chamberlain as a councilman, even Lance Bass and Tila Tequila stop by. Perhaps the funniest role is Steve Buscemi as Clinton Fitzer, the investigator who thinks something is fishy about Chuck and Larry’s relationship. Of course the typical Sandler gang is there as well, which also includes Rob Schneider, this time playing an Asian stereotype.

The DVD

In addition to the supporting cast, I found that the music selections for the film were fun. Of course, they’re stereotypically gay songs including “Under Pressure” and “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen, “Dancing Queen” by ABBA and various show tunes, but I enjoyed them. I thought it added a lightheartedness to the film when the jokes themselves were falling flat.

The Special Features were almost more enjoyable than the film itself. Several short featurettes are included with the DVD. “Laughing is Contagious,” the supposed blooper reel which is mostly the cast laughing at themselves while watching playbacks of various scenes. “I Now Pronounce You Husband…and Husband” is a look at the cast’s favorite moments in the film, some of which are redundant if you’ve already watched “Laughing is Contagious”. “Look Who Stopped By” was my favorite by far. This one showed all of the cameos, including a very well disguised Robert Smigel of “TV Funhouse” fame. “Stop Drop and Roll” is a short featurette about the stunts in the film, and “Dugan-The Hands On Director” shows the director, Dennis Dugan, performing a few of the stunts himself, so he could have a better idea of what his actors had to go through. As cheesy as it sounds, this one was pretty cute. There are a few deleted scenes as well that can be watched either with or without commentary by Dugan, but they’re not really that entertaining either way.

This film was really a disappointment. Adam Sandler + Kevin James could only = funny, right? Unfortunately not in this case. The jokes just weren’t there. If there is a next time for these two, hopefully they’ll get it right.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

3
THE VIDEO

5
THE AUDIO

6
THE EXTRAS

5
REPLAY VALUE

2
OVERALL
3
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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