Larry (James) is a widowed New York firefighter who’s bungled his legal affairs. A hasty marriage will solve his financial crisis, and, given the lack of interested females, he recruits best bud Chuck (Sandler) to take him up the aisle in a same-sex marriage.
Leaving aside gags about taking people up the aisle apologies if you’ve just read the ‘plot’ bit), humour can be effectively employed as a vehicle to run intolerance clean off the road.
Critics often cite The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert as a blend of entertainment and education that had a genuine impact on homophobia Down Under. They also point to the chirpy 1996 remake of The Birdcage, or even Flawless, which finds Robert De Niro next door to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s drag queen. The latest entry into this carefree canon, however, is not of the same quality: I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry proves farcical in every sense bar the one intended.
As one of two firemen entering a same-sex marriage of convenience, Adam Sandler wriggles too uncomfortably inside the mock-gay trappings to invest his smarmy fireman with even a squirt of charisma, so his undoubted comedy talents never ignite.
Sharing his descent down the fireman’s pole is The King Of Queens’ Kevin James, whose portrayal of a supposed queen ofQueens, while less irksome than Sandler’s, still smacks of a blatant waste of talent.
The film’s myriad faults - apart from the attempted extraction of humour from terms like ‘cock-up’ - all stem from an uneven set-up, which finds its origins in Sandler’s penchant for slipping gay-friendly subplots into his none-more-macho comedies. The film is simply too mindful of doing the right thing and whispering the right platitudes, creating an inferno of self-conscious moralising whose flames scald, and scold, the bawdy, stereotypical gay-gags also included in the hope of raising laughs. One of its comedic centrepieces is a soap-in-the-shower scene; to call such writing lazy is an insult to slovenliness.
With ribald and stale jokes at odds with the slender social message, this wedding piece crashes and burns amid its own hypocrisy.