I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
is a 2007 comedy starring Adam Sandler
and Kevin James. Two New York City Firefighters named Chuck (Sandler) and Larry (James)
do a routine sweep of a building. Falling debris showers over Chuck, but Larry uses his body to shield him. As Chuck is saved, he tells Larry that he'll repay him with any favor.
After the accident, Larry, a recent widower, worries about his death and the impact it could have on his two kids. However, he discovers that his life insurance policy won't allow him to change his beneficiary from his deceased wife to his children due to him not experiencing a major life event. As he neglected to fill out the paperwork after his wife's death, he's left with marriage. Realizing New York legally recognizes domestic partnerships, he pleads for Chuck to have a domestic partnership with him. Realizing that he owes him one
, he agrees.
However, things get complicated when they're repeatedly investigated for potential fraud and forced to keep acting gay in public to maintain the ruse - particularly difficult for Chuck due to his lady killer tendencies and especially his growing attraction to a lawyer, Alex, who supported them. The two also begin to learn that living openly as gay men creates further complications as the two previously homophobic men are now subjected to the same persecution legitimately gay people are.
While the movie was lambasted by critics for its horrendously insensitive premise and treatment of LGBT individuals, it was a box office hit and also endorsed by GLAAD as a gay-friendly film for its message of tolerance
, though they were just about the only ones.
This film contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: At one point, Chuck reads the story "The Puppy Who Lost Its Way" to Larry's kids. This book was also read to Billy (also played by Adam Sandler) in the movie Billy Madison.
- Almost Kiss: Twice in the film, the duo are expected to kiss. The first time, they flip out and Chuck hits Larry (they play this off as being kinky.) The second time, they are expected to kiss in court to prove their love before they're interrupted by the Captain, who exposes the entire charade.
- Black Comedy Rape: There was an entire scene that was just the guys' coworkers being scared to shower because Chuck and Larry might rape them, with them acting as if they actually might.
- But Not Too Gay: Despite that this movie is completely centered upon the issues of homosexuals and gay marriage, the one line they could not cross was having Chuck and Larry actually kiss. They wanted to do this, but the MPAA threatened to give the movie an R-rating if they did (despite heterosexual kisses not even being considered to be PG-13), so they had to pass on that idea in the interests of marketability.
- Camp Gay: Pretty much anyone in the movie that is actually gay is this. Duncan doesn't start out this way, but he switches to this as soon as he comes out of the closet. One of the chief criticisms of the film was its flagrant stereotyping of the gay community despite purporting to be a message of tolerance.
- Implied with Larry's effeminate son.
- Citizenship Marriage: The insurance marriage variant.
- Depraved Homosexual: Subverted - the movie doesn't portray one, but during the shower scene, Chuck and Larry are treated as though they are.
- Executive Meddling:
- The writer of the screenplay, Alexander Payne, claimed that Sandler made changes to his scripts. Lots of changes. To the point where he wanted to have his name taken off but clearly did not succeed.
- Chuck and Larry originally kissed in the courtroom scene. The MPAA threatened to give them an R-rating unless they subverted it.
- Faux Yay: The premise of the film.
- Fanservice: Jessica Biel in a couple scenes. Bra and panties in one, with a gratuitous shot of her walking away after getting felt up by Sandler. Also as Comic Book/Catwoman at a costume party.
- Fictional Video Game/Personal Arcade: Chuck owns a "Balica"note arcade game.
- Gay Like Me: Chuck is a very casual homophobe, happy to toss around words like "faggot" and having offensive, stereotypical ideas of what gay people are like judging by his attempts at impersonating one. By the end of the movie, he and Larry have had to deal with genuine prejudice over their faked sexuality, and he admits how ignorant he was.
- Get Back in the Closet: The reason why they decided to cut the kiss between Chuck and Larry.
- Hard Gay
- Have I Mentioned I am Gay?
- Hello, Attorney!
- Heteronormative Crusader
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Inevitable considering Chuck and Larry did pretend to be a couple.
- Informed Attribute: Chuck is supposedly good looking and charming enough to have a pair of twin sisters fighting over him, who're even willing to incestuously make out with each other for a chance to have sex with him. Even after he's cheated on one of them with the other. Do we buy this? Ha Ha Ha No.
- Male Gaze: Alex McDonough gets this. It's one of the reasons why Chuck found it hard to keep up the charade.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Eric and Tori (Larry's kids).
- Mighty Straighty: Two straight guys are the only ones standing up to bigots at a party, in spite of all the gay guests there. The two guys later becomes gay icons.
- Of course, in real life, Westboro Baptist, the group this film is clearly parodying, explicitly want people to break the law to get at them. The entire clan is full of practicing lawyers and they would immediately file a lawsuit and reap the publicity of taking an angry LGBT individual or supporter to court. Chuck punching the preacher out as he does in the film would actually be a major setback.
- Ms. Fanservice: Alex played by Jessica Biel. The film and trailer makes sure to show off her breast, legs and ass.
- No Bisexuals: The entire climax is of Chuck getting in trouble because he was "caught" being in prior relationships with women. The idea of bisexuality was never even implied as a possibility. In fact, the entire movie would be over if they simply claimed to be bisexuals in an open relationship.
- Queer People Are Funny: The whole point of the movie.
- Scary Black Man: One of the firefighters. Who turns out to be gay too.
- What Could Have Been: The script was originally titled I Now Pronounce You Joe and Benny and would have paired Will Smith and Nicolas Cage together. Tom Shadyac would have directed this version, which was sidelined due to budget issues.
- Also, the original script of the film was intended to be a comedic but still serious take on the issues of homophobia and gay marriage. However, when Adam Sandler signed on he rewrote the script and Flanderized all of the serious bits.