Divorce this Some Like It Hot redux

I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry

on July 20, 2007 by Wade Major
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As if audiences needed another hackneyed rehash of Some Like It Hot , along comes I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry , a wholly unsubtle and tonally inconsistent refashioning of the classic Billy Wilder comedy that swaps drag for “gay” in an attempt to strike a timely and controversial chord in the era of era of gay marriage and domestic partnerships.

In what ranks as one of the most preposterous inciting contrivances ever, New York City firefighter and widower Larry Valentine (Kevin James) is told that because he has missed his window of time to assign his children as beneficiaries on his city pension, his only option is to get married—or enter into a domestic partnership—whereby, in the event of tragedy, his “significant other” would see to his kids' welfare. Believing the whole scheme will never move beyond the paperwork stage, he solicits his oversexed coworker buddy Chuck (Adam Sandler) to play “partner” but soon runs up against an aggressive city fraud inspector (Steve Buscemi) who'll stop at nothing to unmask their felonious charade.

The idea of libidinous manly men acting gay is about as tired as one-note jokes can be— Three's Company milked it to death for eight seasons—but this film wears it out before it's even begun. That's not to say that the film's makers—including about a half-dozen credited producers—weren't aware of the problem. The attempt to have it both ways—exploiting gay stereotypes while back-loading the movie with a heavy-handed message about gay rights—is vintage Farrelly brothers, courtesy of original writer and Farrelly associate Barry Fanaro ( Kingpin ). Fixing those problems was apparently the task presented to re-writers Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor—the Oscar-winning duo behind Sideways and About Schmidt —though the disconnect between their more sophisticated sense of comedy and that of director Dennis Dugan ( Happy Gilmore , Big Daddy and Problem Child ) is far too great for even Oscar-caliber talent to bridge.

A cascade of cameos—some more amusing than others—and the charming presence of Jessica Biel in the Marilyn Monroe part provide some tolerable interludes, but “tolerable” is a far cry from “funny,” which most of this lumbering attempt at comedy decidedly is not.

Audiences are urged to take a pass or, for those unfortunate enough to have already bought tickets, seek an immediate annulment.
Distributor: Universal
Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Aykroyd, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi and Nicholas Turturro
Director: Dennis Dugan
Screenwriters: Barry Fanaro and Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor
Producers: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, Tom Shadyac Michael Bostick
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13 for crude sexual content throughout, nudity, language and drug references
Running time: 114 min.
Release date: July 20, 2007
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