List Film

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (3 stars)

(12A) 110min

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COMEDY

Adam Sandler’s determination to earth his angry-funnyman persona within real-life tragedy has already resulted in the flop of maudlin post-9/11 drama Reign On Me. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry offers a rather sunnier view of New York through camaraderie of the NYC fire department, where Chuck (Sandler) is so determined to help his best friend Larry (Kevin James) overcome the death of his wife that he agrees to marry Larry in order to be entitled to domestic partner benefits. Soon local government investigator Clinton Fizer (Steve Buscemi) turns up to check on the reality of their living arrangements and as a result Chuck and Larry find their attitude to gay rights changing, particularly when they are stigmatised and victimised because of their perceived homosexuality.

Boasting a carefully thought-out and approved agenda on gay issues (Alexander Payne is one of the credited writers), I Now Pronounce You aspires to be a role reversal classic like Some Like it Hot, or at least Tootsie. And aside from the crude treatment of the female characters (especially Jessica Biel in a thankless blow-up doll role of Sandler’s swimsuit model girlfriend), and Rob Schneider’s awful guest-spot as an Asian minister, I Now Pronounce You almost works. The film owes much of it entertainment value to a slew of cameos – Richard Chamberlain and US celebrity blog fodder Lance Bass are trotted out by way of endorsement from the gay community, and tough-guy Ving Rhames plays against type as a closet queen, using his physical presence to dramatic effect in the inevitable dropped-soap-in-the-shower scene.

General release from Fri 21 Sep.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

  • 3 stars
  • 2007
  • US
  • 115 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Dennis Dugan
  • Written by: Barry Fanaro, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
  • Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Dan Aykroyd

Chuck (Sandler) is so determined to help his best friend Larry (James) overcome the death of his wife that he agrees to marry him in order to gain them domestic partner benefits. When the pair find themselves stigmatised because of their perceived homosexuality, they begin to change their attitudes towards gay rights.

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