Monday, July 16, 2007

"I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" -- ZERO STARS

I don’t really know how to go about writing a review for the new Adam Sandler-Kevin James comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” (for those who don't know, the movie's about two straight firefighters who must pose as a gay couple to get the domestic partner benefits) so instead, I thought I’d offer up a list of moments that made me cringe:

--When Kevin James suggests to Adam Sandler they get married, and Sandler responds “You mean like faggots?” and my audience erupted in laughter.

--Rob Schneider marrying the pair in yellow-face as the couple’s Asian rabbi, complete with prosthetic slanty-eyes

--Anything involving the mockery of James’ 10-year-old gay son, most notably when Sandler opens a porno magazine in front of him and the kid shrieks a high-pitched womanly squeal and runs away

--All of James’ son’s shirts being covered in sequins… because he’s gay, get it??!

--In an attempt to “gay up” their garbage to fool the investigator poking around their neighborhood, they buy a copy of “Brokeback Mountain,” a tub of Crisco and a baby doll (whuh? I don’t even understand that homophobic stereotype)

--When inspired to scream “Hell yeah!” after looking at a woman’s ass, but then spotted by Jessica Biel, Sandler covers by saying “They got KY Jelly for less than a dollar! Hell yeah!”

--The decades-old jokes about James’ son wanting to audition for the school musical and preferring to play with his sister’s Easy Bake Oven rather than his G.I. Joes

--At an AIDS benefit the pair are invited to, almost every gay character is dressed either in drag or like the Village People, while “Dancing Queen” blares in the background

--Any close-ups of Sandler’s face, revealing it to be the shlumpiest in Hollywood

--Ving Rhames, after revealing he’s gay, attempts to lead a group sing along of “I’m Every Woman” in the showers (because that’s what gays do, RIGHT?!)

--After “rescuing” a morbidly obese man from a burning building by throwing him down the stairs, the fat man lets out a long, loud fart.

--Sandler making fun of James’ dead wife by pretending to be her ghost, a joke that was much funnier and less offensive when performed by Doris Roberts in the Sandler-produced “Grandma’s Boy”

--Director Dennis Dugan shooting a potential gay kiss as a horror movie moment, in slow motion—but thankfully Dan Aykroyd bursts in just in time to break it up, so the audience is spared having to witness the grotesque sight of two men kissing

--My audience’s disgust and “Ewwwwwwwww”s at anything gay onscreen… I wish I could say it was mostly pre-teen and teenage boys, but there were a lot of grown men there doing the same thing.

--The phrase “the great Mayor Giuliani” uttered un-ironically.

--Sandler staples David Spade and Nick Swardson popping up to do their most flamboyant impression of queers they can muster

--The audience invited to laugh at James’ gay son, who bakes for Sandler and offers “You have to try my brownies, they’re FABulous!”

--When one of the firefighters drops the soap in the shower and no one will pick it up because they think Sandler or James might rape them

--Sandler suggesting James should throw his gay son in the garbage

But more offensive than all the anti-gay content in the movie is the horribly and blatantly tacked-on, insincere speech at the movie’s climax where Dan Aykroyd proclaims that you shouldn’t judge anyone based on their sexuality, and that the person they are is what should matter, not if they’re gay or straight. Sandler chimes in and sincerely says something to the effect of “And don’t say ‘faggot.’ I used to say it, and it’s bad. It’s like ‘kike’ for a jew” (after his character has said the word ‘faggot’ about a half-dozen times in the movie for laughs).

I don’t usually consider myself easily offended, and am all for humor that pushes the boundaries of taste, but I am honestly disgusted that GLAAD has stamped this movie with their approval and even say so on their website. Is this organization so easy to be bought off by Universal Pictures? They must be, because that’s clearly what happened here. I can’t imagine the notoriously easy-to-get up-in-arms organization sitting and watching this piece of shit and genuinely thinking it’s a film about acceptance or that it could possibly be good for the gay community.

Even “Soul Man,” the gloriously offensive piece-of-crap starring C. Thomas Howell as a white guy attempting to pass in blackface to gain entry into an African-American university, didn’t dare to pack its running time with black people running around robbing white people while break-dancing and eating fried chicken and watermelon.

Despite his decision to feature at least one homophobic stereotype (i.e.: a creepy, gross gay character who comes on to him) in every single one of his films, I generally like Sandler’s movies, and I’ve certainly taken some flak for it. Sure they’re infantile, stupid and puerile, but generally they have a good heart, offer a few laughs here and there and are by and large, sweet.

But this, on top of its “offensive” content, suffers from increasingly stale, unfunny jokes that feel as if they were written ten years ago (and what do you know, that’s when the first draft of the script was written). Even as a movie without any of the baggage it carries, it would be a strong contender for the worst movie of 2007, though it would probably lose out to “Norbit.”

Films like “Borat,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and especially “Talladega Nights” are hilarious, subversive movies that make gay jokes that subtly (or not-so-subtly) mock homophobia more than anything, and I thought there was a chance “Chuck & Larry” would be in a similar vein. Gays can take a joke and be laughed at as much as anyone else. But what isn’t tolerable is a movie that has the potential to incite more hatred, and a movie that’s only intent is to target every teenage boy and Middle American’s gay panic.

It’s no coincidence that “Chuck & Larry” is opening on the same weekend as “Hairspray.” The studio must have figured that all of the gay community will be too busy fawning all over the latest movie musical that they’ll barely notice the latest piece of hate disguised as entertainment heading into multiplexes.

This is a monstrous film targeted to capitalize on America’s surging homophobia and it’s disconcerting that there’s a sizable enough audience for it that major, notable actors felt it could be profitable/beneficial for them. This applies to anyone involved in this dreck, but more than anyone, Adam Sandler (who’s never been known for being the most gay-friendly comedian/actor anyway) should be truly ashamed of himself.


Blogger Dana said...

You've just confirmed everything I assumed would be the case with this movie. I mean, I was offended by the concept itself, and the fact that the makers were trying to pass it off as a promotion of tolerance, but all of your details about it have served to deepen my distaste for the film. How can they pretend that a film that utilizes homophobia for the majority of its jokes is going to make people any more "tolerant" (a word I HATE for its condescension!) of gays!? Yuck, yuck, yuck. And the sad part is, it'll probably make A LOT of money regardless.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently saw this movie, and I left feeling really offended. Rob Schneider's asian "costume" offended me most because I am a Chinese American. I simply could not believe that anyone in this century would put on a "yellow face." I mean, this is just as bad as the black face performances in the old days, which, I might add, are considered highly racist and offensive today. What makes making fun of asians any better?

I was really disappointed in the movie, and I lost a lot of respect for the actors involved. I used to like Adam Sandler, but now I don't see him as a respectable person. I am just so shocked that this movie is so distasteful.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys needa stop bein suck whiney faggots. Who cares about the asian thing, its not suppose to make u whine u little baby. its suppose to be funny. thats all. its not trying to insult u but if thats what u let it do then thats your own fault. and for the tolerance of fag stuff? who cares theres so much pro homo stuff in the media these days it makes me wonder if they ever stop to think that that is offensive to alot of people. the homosexual agenda is filth anyways.

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quit all your whining. You were offended by Rob playing a chinese dude? Holy crap, you need to grow a set. The movie was pro queer more than anything. And i agree, there is so much progay stuff in the media, its rediculous.

6:28 PM  

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