I Saw It, So You Don't Have To: 'Chuck and Larry'
Anyone who’s endured the trailer for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry knows that with its central premise — Adam Sandler and Kevin James playing a pair of boorish firefighters who pose as a gay couple to ensure the latter’s kids remain eligible to collect his pension — it’s not aiming to be the next Brokeback Mountain. (Oh those homosexuals — even their benefits packages are more fabulous!) But unless you gave up your hard earned cash to see the entire movie with your own eyes, then you probably don’t know the depths of infantilism and implausibility Chuck and Larry manages to reach.
For starters, Sandler’s character (Chuck) is presented as a world-class Lothario (“Mr. February” in the New York City Firefighters’ beefcake calendar) who proves utterly irresistible to women. At one point, Chuck’s query of “Who wants to massage my ass muscle?” is met by a quintet of scantily clad Asian waitresses piling into his vehicle screaming, “Me! Me! Me!” (He also manages to bed a sexy, blonde physician by insultingly calling her “Dr. Honey” and sexually harassing her in front of his coworkers.)
Worse still, the script (co-written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor of Sideways and Electionfame!) comes off like it was cooked up by a pack of 14-year-old boysduring a particularly productive study-hall period. Exhibit A: Chuckand Larry’s rescue attempt in a burning building ends with a morbidlyobese man passing gas while sitting on Chuck’s face. If that’s notenough to send you into the emotional fetal position, here’s myby-the-numbers breakdown on the No. 1 movie in America last weekend.
Total running time: 110 minutes
Number of times I laughed during the film: 5.5*
Number of laughs per minute: .05
Number of soap-dropping incidents filmed in slo-mo: 2
Punch lines suggesting Larry’s effete pre-teen son should be exposed to hard-core porn/tossed into a trashcan/anally assaulted: 3
Classic songs ruined: 4(“Groove Is in the Heart,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Freedom 90,” and “I’m Every Woman”)
Best punch line: “I used to wrestle in high school. And I loved it.” — Chuck, explaining his gay epiphany to a benefits investigator
Worst punch line:“So were my balls — and now I only have one of them.” — Dan Akroyd,responding to Chuck and Larry’s argument that they’d been workingtogether forever, and shouldn’t have to take separate shifts
Worst punch line (first runner-up): “You’re the only sisters you got. Use your tongues.” — Chuck, encouraging sexy twins (played by American Idol alums Becky and Jessica O’Donohue) to kiss and make up
Unforgivable cameos: 4 (Lance Bass, Dave Matthews, Richard Chamberlain, and Rob Corddry)
Criminally negligent cameo:1 (Rob Schneider, working overtime to fine-tune his offensive Asianstereotyping skills, as the minister who marries Chuck and Larry.)
Stereotypes perpetuated: 4 (Openly gay men — even when they look like Ving Rhames — as mincingqueens; Asian women as mindless sex objects; straight women as totallycomfortable getting undressed in front of/felt up by their gay malefriends; Rachel Dratch as grotesque, romantically toxic she-beast.
Take-home message: 1 (Use of the word ‘f—-t’ is “bad.”)
* One laugh was an embarassed/horrified response to a closeup shot of the soiled sweatpants of Chuck and Larry’s homeless wedding witness.