Fire in the Hole
Watching a new Adam Sandler movie can easily be compared to watching the third movie in a trilogy. You've invested time in the first two movies and although you know the third movie will probably be unoriginal and lacking you feel obliged to watch it, a sort of loyalty towards it. Such is the case with Sandler, his early movies were good, but then his more recent stuff has been repetitive and unoriginal even disappointing but you still feel that maybe just maybe his new movie will be return to form. Sadly "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" is definitely not a return to form despite seeing him reacquainted with director Dennis Dugan who was the man behind the entertaining "Happy Gilmore". Nope "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" is just your stereotypical modern Adam Sandler movie, with moronic base level humour driving the movie forward rather than a storyline.
Chuck (Adam Sandler - Click) and Larry (Kevin James - Hitch) are best friends as well as fire fighters who will do anything for each other, even risk their own lives if need be. So when Chuck runs into a barrage of red tape when trying to make his children his beneficiaries following the death of his wife he has to ask Larry for a big favour. In order that his children will get his pension if he dies Chuck and Larry pretend to be domestic partners, falsifying the legal documents in doing so. But what they didn't bargain on was the prying eyes of government investigator Clint Fitzer (Steve Buscemi - Domestic Disturbance) who believes their supposed gay marriage is a sham.
Although "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" is very much your stereotypical Adam Sandler movie it did have me slightly bemused. Bemused because for the majority of the movie it languishes in the juvenile humour of homophobia, dishing out gay jokes and cliche scenes likes it's nobodies business then it throws a sermon like ending telling us that homophobia is wrong, yet still manages to make a joke of it all. It sort of leaves you gob smacked at all the blatant gay jokes yet still manages to preach about it, I honestly don't get it and I am sure I am not alone in wondering who thought it would be a good idea. It's the sort of thing which I would probably have found funny maybe 20 years ago before I grew up and I am sure the adolescent age group will find all the jokes funny but even so it's still bemusing how it attempts to preach that it's all wrong yet still goes ahead and does it.
Despite this blatant revelling in homophobic humour there are some moments which are truly quite funny, although frankly they are few and far between. Probably the best laugh comes from Ving Rhames who plays a strong silent fire fighter who comes out during the movie in a very over the top camp manner. The thing is it's not the over the top campness which is actually funny it's that it is Ving Rhames, a guy who has made his name playing tough guys, strong silent types who ends up coming out.
What is disappointing is that on one hand "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" has a semi good idea for a storyline, the red tape encountered by Chuck and the lengths he will go to for his family but then on the other it's all sidelined in favour of all the cheap gags and obvious set piece scenes, such as a soap dropping scene. It again feels like "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" was not written with a story in mind, rather than a collection of set piece gags which when used sparingly could have been amusing but thrown at you in a cavalcade of moronic humour fail to be anything rather than tiring. You can sort of see the writing team in process, as they start off they have this idea for a storyline about a guy struggling with red tape and by the time the beer has finished flowing it is has fallen into a rowdy mess of gag telling.
Well I will say it again, this is stereotypical Adam Sandler fare and again he ends up playing a similar character to what he has been churning out for a few years now, although he does turn the volume down on his shouting exploits. So we basically have the man child again, the sort of character who revels in boob and butt jokes, as per the rather obvious scene where he ends up feeling Jessica Biel's breasts. Opposite Sandler there is Kevin James who at least delivers something a little more humorous than Sandler's obvious adolescent humour but even then for the most it's all still very obvious with size gags and fears over his son's infatuation with dancing and show tunes.
There really is very little to get excited about when it comes to the performances, even that of Jessica Biel whose sole purpose in the movie is not to be a clever lawyer but eye candy. Plus of course there is the usual collection of Sandler cronies who get to make their usual outing in a bit part such as Allen Covert, Steve Buscemi, Nick Swardson and of course Rob Schneider as an Asian minister which in itself is quite offensive. Probably the one real highlight is that of Ving Rhames who gets to have a bit of fun playing against type.
What this all boils down to is that "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" is unsurprisingly your stereotypical Adam Sandler movie, full of adolescent humour, cheap gags, obvious scenes and a storyline that is only there as a backdrop for all the humour. It is quite extraordinary that whilst the majority of the movie revels in homophobic gags it still manages to preach a message saying that it's all wrong but never really listening to its own moral message. I am sure those who are still in their teens will find this all very amusing, but it really does get close to being the lowest level of humour possible.