Despite sounding like the plot to the best gay porn you never rented—two firefighting buddies (one of which is a bear) turn up the heat at the firehouse when they reveal their true feelings for each other—I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is just another in a long line of mainstream comedies that specialize in gay jokes for people who, most likely, hate gay people. Much like last year's horrific Wild Hogs, this latest film from Adam Sandler—and to a lesser extent Kevin James, a man forever typecast as the fat friend—is a limp parade of wacky gay jokes aimed at a target market who prefers their gays to be played by a pair of goofy straight guys.
When widower Larry Valentine (James) discovers that he's in jeopardy of losing his pension, he convinces best pal Chuck Levine (Sandler, in his worst performance since Click or Little Nicky, take your pick) to enter into a fake domestic partnership. Hijinx ensue. No gay joke is spared, and the film features a staggering amount of misused talent, both onscreen (Steve Buscemi and Ving Rhames) and off (screenwriters Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, who somehow went from winning Academy Awards for Sideways to this).
But the real tragedy here is Sandler. Early in the film, Sandler plays Chuck as a deplorable, sex-crazed homophobe—and he's actually more likable this way than he is later in the film, when he learns some Life Lessons and starts lecturing the audience on how "faggot" is "a mean word." (Chuck and Larry also manages to offend Asians—Rob Schneider's horrific portrayal of a Japanese wedding chapel owner rivals Mickey Rooney's infamous Mr. Yunioshi character/slur from Breakfast at Tiffany's.)
The dick jokes march on, until the very end, when director Dennis Dugan (The Benchwarmers, Happy Gilmore) hastily embraces gay culture—not out of actual sentiment, but more out of fear of actually offending someone somewhere. Of course, that's the problem here: Despite their best efforts, Sandler and James are never allowed to be gay enough (are the genitals of Adam Sandler so unappealing that not even his closest friend in the world cannot, just once, place his tender mouth upon them?), while at the same time, the movie flippantly uses homosexuality solely as a vehicle for endless pitcher/catcher references, the longest soap-dropping montage ever, and one liners like "And that's when I boarded the dude train!"
The irony here is how absolutely homosexual Sandler and James' characters really are for each other. You can dress them up as basketball-playing fireman who leer at women, but it's just desperate overcompensation. Chuck and Larry would have been far more compelling had it been 120 minutes of pure man-on-man penetration—yet all we get are limp gay jokes, uninspired locker room humor, and half-hearted messages about tolerance. Once again, Hollywood fails to provide us with what we all want: Adam Sandler's cock in another man's mouth.