Alex Blaze

"Chuck and Larry" reviews

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 20, 2007 2:44 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Chuck and Larry, movies

"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" opens today. Here are some reviews of the film. I think they got particularly creative with this cinematic endeavor. Enjoy!

Lisa Kennedy of The Denver Post:

If I'm spoiling something for you here, good. You'll thank me. And your 13-year-old son won't care.

Floating in the muck of "Chuck & Larry," one can almost discern some Golden Era gestures. There's a classic American comedy about mistaken identities and humanism buried deep within. But it would take Billy Wilder to make this off-tune mess sing. As good as Payne and Taylor have been as writers, they don't come near the populist sophistication of "Some Like It Hot."

No doubt some of this grousing will strike die-hard fans of Sandler (the only people who can legitimately be satisfied with this flick) as so much PC ranting.

They're right, if by PC they mean professionally cranky.

In the spirit of uncivil unions, I now denounce you, "Chuck & Larry."

Nathan Lee of the Village Voice:

Tremendously savvy in its stupid way, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is as eloquent as Brokeback Mountain, and even more radical. "The gay cowboy movie" liberated desires latent in the classic western, and made them palpable (and palatable) by channeling them into the strictures of another genre, romantic tragedy. Progressive values were advanced by a retreat to a traditional mode of storytelling, the love that dare not speak its name rendered intelligible through the universal language of the upscale weepy.

Chuck and Larry takes this strategy much further, baiting a far less adventuresome demographic. Gay themes won't deter the Sandler cult, who can rely on their man not to be a fag. And that, precisely, is the canny maneuver here. Our pussy-loving men's men are New York City firefighters to boot, the very embodiment of all-American heroism (and object of gay fetishism).

John Anderson of Newsday:

Kevin James? His Larry isn't a long trip from "King of Queens," forever perpetuating the idea of the domesticated American male as an exasperated dope - a proud tradition stretching from Homer Simpson to Ralph Kramden. What are meant to be his sensitive moments are indigestible.

But the most appalling aspect of "C&L" is Rob Schneider, who plays the owner of a wedding chapel and offers up the most offensive Asian caricature since Mickey Rooney's notorious yellow-face performance in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." What were they thinking? Simple: They weren't.

David Foucher of EDGE Boston:

What’s most fun about "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry" is the fact that it’s so seditious; in large part, the movie is an overwritten, badly-cast mess - and yet it will make the millions of Adam Sandler fans understand what intolerance feels like even as they squirm through their laughter. It works surprisingly well, and not because we haven’t seen gay epithets, especially incredibly stereotypical gay epithets. It works because they’re hurled at straight guys.

Mahnola Dargis of the NY Times (Subscription required):

Sporadically funny, casually sexist, blithely racist and about as visually sophisticated as a parking-garage surveillance video.

Kevin Carr of 7(m):

“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” isn’t perfect by far. Too many scenes fizzle out with stale jokes and bad punch lines. However, when the movie is funny, it is hilarious. And, while it takes on the issues of gay rights, it avoids a preachy tone, which is refreshing to see in a movie nowadays.

Sean Axmaker of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

It's kind of like "Tootsie," only without the drag. Or the class. Or the laughs. Only that last bit should prove a problem for Sandler's core audience.

"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" plods through every narrative cliche and cultural stereotype with predictable results, but as if their triumph over prejudice isn't enough, it transforms the faux same-sex couple into heroes. That straight buffoons become the out and proud poster boys of New York's gay community is a backhanded slap that the film plays as some kind of bold gesture.

Jack Mathews of the NY Daily News:

Directed with his usual flair for the obvious by Dennis Dugan ("The Benchwarmers), "Chuck and Larry" has the nowness factor of a Polish joke. Does anybody laugh at this stuff anymore?

Mike Vissichelli of FireFLAG/EMS (a gay firefighter group in New York):

The film shows the journey that gay firefighters go through in their careers, the brotherhood of firefighters, and ultimately their respect for one another based on actions and deeds. Over the years, the FDNY and its members have become more supportive of gay firefighters and have made strides in improving how they are treated on the job. FireFLAG/EMS supports this progress and is actively involved in the department’s actions on gay-related issues. 'Chuck and Larry' is, of course, a comedy and some of the humor may be considered offensive to some, but the growth of the principal characters during the course of the film is the ultimate measure of how to judge the intent and heart of the filmmakers.

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I have to admit, I'm not jumping at the chance to see this one. I'll rent it probably, but only from a morbid curiosity. It definitely won't jump to the top of the Netflix queue...

Never been a big Sandler fan to begin with. This film might have been worth seeing in the late 80's or early 90's (STOP LAUGHING)-- back in the days of "visibility at all cost" (to quote Harvey Feirstein); now it just reeks of 21st Century black-face (Str8 playing gay). I'll wait for the DVD & might not even bother with that...

Speaking of DVD's....One of the best gay-themed films to come out in a long time, out on DVD now, is "The History Boys." LOVED that one!
"Brokeback Mountain," of course and one of my very favs is a British film called "Get Real."

And speaking of Harvey Feirstein, "Torch Song Trilogy" is a CLASSIC. Another one (ok I'll stop) is "Before Night Falls" based on the memoir of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas and starring Javier Bardem with cameos by Sean Penn and Johnnie Depp (in drag!). OK... ONE more (I just thought of it): Pedro Almodovar's "Bad Education" with the GORGEOUS Gael Garcia Bernal (from "Motorcycle Diaries" & "Y Tu Mama Tambien).

Point being: we no longer (thank the gods and godesses) have to settle for cliche's, stereotypes and a reductive vision of ourselves as seen through the eyes of straight people who know NOT what they do.

Totally, R. My thoughts, though, from these reviews, is that while there's debate on whether it's homophobic or not, there doesn't seem to be much debate over whether or not its racist. Or misogynist. I read a few other reviews not included here, and it's interesting that the gay media doesn't talk about the fat jokes about women or the racial caricature that Rob Schneider is when he dons the yellow-face.

Although I haven't seen it. So what would I know?

Another thing I was just thinking is that there is a similar film by a gay writer/director named Lane Janger (he & I actually had an email correspondance going on for a while) called "Just One Time." In the film a firefighter is engaged to be married but wants to endulge his one sexual fantasy first: that being to watch his fiance have sex with another woman. She agrees-- on one condition: that she can watch while he has sex with a man! What follows is a lively & sometimes funny debate over sexual identity as each tries to find the perfect partner for the other (there's a scene where they go to sample food for the wedding banquet, in which all the food becomes a sexual metaphor, that is hilarious).

Again-- the thematic idea of this movie seems to have been done & done better....

I was so happy to see such poor reviews for Chuck and Larry across the board!! I will not see it or rent it...not on principle just cuz it looks like crap :-)

Hubby and I did see Hairspray on Friday night and had a great time. Travolta tried to ruin it but he did fine- mostly when he was not talking or singing but he was fine. VIVA LA PFIFFER! BACK FROM TOO LONG AN ABSENSE!

Love, Buck

Chuck and Larry was HYSTERICAL! It's about time we got over the PC crap and back to having some good fun. Just 'cause we're having fun doesn't mean we don't love all types of people.

Great fun - really fun one-liners!