I did something over the past couple of weekends that I rarely ever do, I actually broke my boring homebody routine and went to the movies. Last Saturday I saw Hairspray and yesterday I went with my boyfriend to see I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
Chuck and Larry stars Adam Sandler as Chuck Levine and Kevin James(King of Queens) as Larry Valentine. The two are best friends who have worked together for years as firefighters in Brooklyn, New York. Chuck is a typical sex-crazed heterosexual bachelor and Larry is a widower with two kids, a girl and a boy who has a strong inclination for tap dancing and showtunes. After Larry saves Chuck's life during a fire, Chuck vows to repay him for his act of bravery. Larry finds the perfect opportunity to take him up on his offer when he's unable to add his children as beneficiaries on his life insurance because of legal red tape. The best friends then decide to enter into a domestic partnership making Chuck the legal beneficiary and guardian in the event of Larry's death, and that's when all hell breaks loose.
I've read a lot of reviews for this film and most critics have panned it giving it two out of five stars. I have to admit I was a little skeptical about the writing and how gay men were going to be portrayed, and in the vein of most Adam Sandler movies it had it's macho frat boy homophobe moments, but it also had some poignant moments that served as lessons to a homophobic society. Don't get me wrong, this movie is not a piece of important work that will further advance equality for LGBT people or start a major dialogue in this country around sexual orientation, but it does succeeed at reaching an audience that probably would have never gone to see Brokeback Mountain or Brother to Brother.
I've often asked people who believe that being gay is a choice what they would do if they had to walk a day in the shoes of an LGBT person, and usually I get a blank face from those who actually take the time to think about the question or more hate speech from the more volatile individuals. This is exactly what happens to Chuck and Larry when they pretend to be gay and they experience first hand the rejection, discrimination, un-equal treatment, and often times violence endured by same gender loving people . In a touching scene Adam Sandler tells a crowded room not to use the word faggot although he used it repeatedly in the past because he now understood that it was hurtful.
Jessica Biel also turns in a good performance as the couples attorney and provides a beautiful body for Chuck(Adam Sandler) to grope in an effort to without a doubt please his hyper -masculine fan base. Ving Rhames ( Holiday Heart ), a black actor who is no stranger to playing gay roles also appears in the movie as a firefighter with a secret of his own. His character is one that could have easily been taken from an In Living Color skit, stereotypical and dissapointing but not bad enough to ruin the film. There's also a cameo from Lance Bass of N'SYNC that's surprisingly quick.
Overall, I thought I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was a good movie. I wasn't as offended as I thought I would be and although some jokes were predictable I was still moved to laughter(ok...so it might not take much). But nothing compares to knowing that this film in it's own unique way gives a lesson on tolerance, respect, and understanding for anybody that society deems abnormal, especially LGBT people. So grab a date and go and see it for yourself.