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Film / I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

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I Now Pronounce You Chuck & 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 getting remarried as the only option available to update his policy. 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 supports and represents 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.

This film contains examples of:

  • 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.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • The entire premise of the film. Being romantically involved is not a prerequisite for two people being in a domestic partnership. If anything, the opposite is true: the agreement only recognizes that two unmarried people live together, and it's (in theory) designed for people who aren't romantic partners. The arrangement just used to be common among LGBT couples because same-sex marriage was illegal in most of the United States until 2015, so domestic partnerships were often the closest thing to marriage that they could get.
    • The movie has no apparent idea how life insurance works at all. The fake marriage is completely unnecessary as any life insurance policy would have named Larry's children as beneficiaries regardless of whether his wife was alive, life insurance beneficiaries can of course be changed at any time, and really if all Larry wanted to do was trigger a life event to change his insurance, he simply had to get married, trigger the life event to change the policy, then get divorced.
    • It's probably a good thing we're never told why Alex knows two guys who went to jail for pretending to be gay to get insurance, because that's not a crime. At all. Insurance fraud would have only been committed if Chuck and Larry actually lied about getting the partnership or getting married, which they follow all the legal requirements to do in the film.
  • Berserk Button: Chuck (after a considerable amount of Character Development) now hates the word "faggot" and he punches a religiously homophobic group member. Note that he himself had no problem referring to gays as such earlier in the film.
  • 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.
  • Black 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.
  • 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. Or he could be just Camp Straight.
  • Citizenship Marriage: The insurance marriage variant.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Chuck points out the reason he and Larry are in this mess and committing fraud is because "everything with Paula's name on it gets filed in the drawer under 'too painful to deal with.'"
  • Depraved Homosexual: Subverted — the movie doesn't portray one, but Chuck and Larry are treated as such during the shower scene.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: At one point Chuck and Larry sleep on Larry's former wife's bed which he hasn't done since she died. Once under the covers, Chuck decides to joke around by imitating his dead wife and claiming he "betrayed" her. Larry, unsurprisingly, isn't amused:
    Larry: I swear to you, I will beat you with the end table!
  • Faux Yay: The premise of the film.
  • Fanservice:
    • Alex (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 Catwoman at a costume party.
    • Also "Dr. Honey" when she's in lingerie.
    • And the cute Asian girls Chuck has over at his pad, including Tila Tequila.
  • Fictional Video Game: Chuck owns a "Balica"note  arcade game.
  • Gender Nonconforming Equals Gay: A minor subplot of the film is Larry being worried that his ten-year-old son, Eric, may be gay since he's more interested in theater and would rather tap dance and sing than play baseball, much to Larry's chagrin.
  • Get Back in the Closet: The reason why they decided to cut the kiss between Chuck and Larry.
  • Hello, Attorney!: Alex is the lawyer helping out Larry and Chuck, and also the obligatory love interest for Chuck. In addition to being, you know, Jessica Biel, the movie makes sure to film her in as much Male Gaze as possible and depict her as doing things like taking her clothes off in front of clients.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Inevitable considering Chuck and Larry did pretend to be a couple.
  • Intimate Marks: The movie has a closeted homosexual who comes out to one of the protagonists. Later, when all the firefighters are in the shower, all the firefighters are scared of the two main characters. The closeted homosexual walks in and drops his soap. He bends over to reveal that "BAD ASS" is tattooed on his butt cheeks.
  • Jerkass: Clinton Fitzer. Granted, he was only doing his job investigating a possible fraud in Chuck and Larry's marriage, but does it justify being such an unsympathetic asshole to them?
  • Large Ham: Dan Aykroyd as the fire marshal.
  • 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).
  • Mistaken from Behind: Adam Sandler's character sees a hot blonde dressed as a Playboy bunny but when he calls out she turns out to be David Spade.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Alex played by Jessica Biel. The film and trailer makes sure to show off her breasts, legs and ass.
  • Nice Guy: Larry, despite his faults, is a mild-mannered, tolerant guy who only wants the best for his family and friends.
  • 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.
  • Only Sane Man: Captain Tucker is the only one at the firehouse who immediately realizes that Chuck and Larry are just pretending to be a couple to take advantage of the domestic partnership loophole. He keeps quiet until the end because he wants to avoid dealing with the bureaucrats.
  • Prison Rape: Parodied when the firemen accidentally drop their soap bars in the shower room and are afraid of being molested by the duo.
  • Queer People Are Funny: The whole point of the movie.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Chuck and Larry, respectively. The former is wild and fun-loving, while the latter is more serious and reserved.
  • Scary Black Man: Duncan (Ving Rhames), one of the firefighters. He turns out to be gay too. And the only reason he's "scary" is because he had to hide his sexuality, and would really become scary if he didn't come out soon.
  • Sexiness Score: Renaldo is incredibly happy when Chuck (who's pretending to be gay) tells him he's a "10" even though Renaldo's not gay himself, he just finds it flattering that gay guys find him attractive.
  • Troll: Chuck loves to get a rise out of others. Examples include when he says he is going to chop up the fat guy into pieces and when he pretends to be Larry's late wife's spirit.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Despite their spouts, Chuck and Larry are bestest friends through and through.
  • Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: Larry is disappointed at the fact that his son, Eric, prefers tap dancing and Broadway musicals to more traditional manly interests like sports. Though he does begin to accept his son for who he is by the end of the movie.
  • Yellowface: Rob Schneider appears in an extreme East Asian Yellowface caricature that was called out even at the time the film came out for its insensitivity.