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Dennis Dugan
Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Aykroyd, Ving Rhames,Steve Buscemi, Nicholas Turturro, Allen Covert, Rachel Dratch
Writing Credits:
Barry Fanaro, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, Lew Gallo (treatment)

They're as straight as can be, but don't tell anyone.

Adam Sandler and Kevin James star as best friends and fellow firefighters Chuck and Larry, the pride of their Brooklyn fire station. Chuck owes Larry for saving his life. Larry calls in that favor big-time by asking Chuck to pose as his "domestic partner" so his kids will get his pension. But when a fact-checking bureaucrat becomes suspicious, the two straight guys are forced to improvise as love-struck newlyweds. Jessica Biel, Ving Rhames and Dan Aykroyd co-star in this hilarious comedy.

Box Office:
$85 million.
Opening Weekend
$34.233 million on 3495 screens.
Domestic Gross
$119.684 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 11/6/2007

• Audio Commentary with Director Dennis Dugan and Actors Adam Sandler and Kevin James
• Audio Commentary with Director Dennis Dugan
• Seven Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “Laughing Is Contagious” Featurette
• “I Now Pronounce You Husband and… Husband?” Featurette
• “Look Who Stopped By” Featurette
• “Stop, Drop and Roll” Featurette
• “Dugan: The Hands-on Director” Featurette
• Previews


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 5, 2007)

In 2007, audiences again made their choice clear: they like “funny Sandler”. Adam Sandler took one of his occasional forays into more dramatic fare with spring’s Reign Over Me and totally fizzled. The movie received mixed – though generally decent - reviews and took in a mere $19 million at the box office.

During the summer, Sandler came back with more traditional work for him: a broad comedy called I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. This wacky effort earned consistently abysmal reviews but audiences didn’t care. The flick still took in a pretty solid $119 million, which made it Sandler’s eighth $100 million-plus grossing movie.

I guess there’s no accounting for taste, as this turns into one of Sandler’s weaker efforts. Pronounce introduces us to a pair of New York firefighters. Chuck (Sandler) is a cocky macho dude who has women fighting over him. Larry (Kevin James) is a single father of two. He never changed his pension beneficiary from his late wife to his kids, and he hits a brick wall of paperwork when he attempts to do this.

It turns out the easiest way to make sure his insurance stays in the family would be to remarry. Larry convinces Chuck to engage in a domestic partnership so the benefits will pass to his pal if he dies. Chuck reluctantly agrees, which sets the pair off on a difficult journey to maintain their charade.

Matters complicate when the authorities sniff around to make sure the guys are a real couple. They hire an attorney named Alex (Jessica Biel) to assist them, a decision that causes additional problems. Even though they formally get married in Canada, they still find questions about the legitimacy of their union. In addition, Chuck starts to fall for Alex, which could blow their cover. The movie follows their attempts to maintain their fake homosexuality and all the related challenges.

Over the years, I’ve often defended Sandler. He gets attacked for his crude, lowest common denominator humor, but I think folks frequently underestimate the cleverness of his work. While Sandler can engage in cheap, obvious gags, he also can display real inventiveness and wit.

Unfortunately, you’ll find none of that from the consistently witless and offensive Pronounce. We know we’re in trouble right off the bat as the flick attempts to make us laugh with images of an insanely obese bed-ridden man Chuck and Larry must rescue from a fire. That premise is cheesy enough, but it gets worse when a) the guy’s crotch ends up in Chuck’s face, and b) the guy farts on him.

I’m sorry to say that the comedy never becomes more creative or sophisticated. Here’s what I predicted about Pronounce months before I saw it: “Let's throw out as many homophobic bits as possible for 90 minutes as long as we ‘redeem’ it with an uplifting message at the end!” That statement’s not entirely true; the movie runs almost two hours, so it’s substantially longer than the 90 minutes I estimated.

Otherwise, my gut reaction to Pronounce was pretty accurate. Sure, the film starts to move in the direction of political correctness before its finale, but it still makes sure it throws out as many gay jokes as possible along the way. Even when it tries to embrace its “gay is okay” theme, it can’t resist cheap gags.

Admittedly, you can’t go into a Sandler film and not expect a plethora of tacky bits. Even his best comedies like 50 First Dates still come with a smattering of gross-out moments, so they seem to be unavoidable. At least Dates redeems itself in other ways, but that doesn’t happen here. When we’re barely done with the opening credits and we encounter a scene that features an absurdly obese man a) whose crotch ends up in Sandler’s face and b) who then farts on Sandler, you know you’re in for a rough ride.

At least scenes like that demonstrate that Pronounce won’t limit its offensive gags to the gays. In addition to the scene I just mentioned, James’s girth means plenty of fat jokes, and Rob Schneider executes a small role as the most offensive Asian caricature since Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Gay jokes still heavily dominate the film, but we get stuck with these other tired riffs as well. Ugh.

Even if the jokes landed laughs, the film suffers from other problems. At almost two hours, it’s way too long for such a thin story. The flick drives home its points again and again. I can’t say that this comes with decreasing effectiveness since the movie never works anyway, but the extended length makes it even more painful to watch.

And then there’s the completely absurd nature of its story. The whole pension plot makes absolutely no sense. On what planet is it easier for two men to get married than for one guy to switch his beneficiary from his dead wife to his kids? The movie tries to pass this off as some red tape problem exacerbated by Larry’s tardiness, but it couldn’t possibly be less logical. Seriously, the writers couldn’t think upa more believable scenario to prompt this faux gay marriage?

Apparently not, and the movie suffers for it. Could someone make a funny flick about this subject? Sure, but in the case of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, no one bothered. The film has one redeeming moment: the sight of Jessica Biel in her underwear. Otherwise it’s a tiresome waste of time.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While some of the movie looked quite good, many other moments seemed problematic.

Sharpness usually appeared accurate and detailed. At times, however, I found the image to come across as somewhat fuzzy and soft, with lesser definition seen in some of the wide shots. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, but I noticed some moderate edge enhancement at times. As for print flaws, I saw a speck or two, but no real distractions emerged.

Colors were fairly accurate, though they seemed to be a little murky at times. While they generally appeared acceptably vivid and bright, they occasionally lacked tremendous tightness. Black levels were fairly deep and rich, but shadow detail was mediocre. Low-light shots offered decent delineation at best. Ultimately, this was a watchable but erratic transfer.

As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it was surprisingly involving given the movie’s genre. I don’t expect much from comedies, but the fires opened up the mix in a solid manner. In the forward channels, the music provided good stereo separation and the effects broadened the track well. Surrounds added positive reinforcement in quieter scenes and kicked to life nicely during the action sequences. The track used the various channels in an active manner and created a fine sense of setting.

Audio quality appeared very good. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were lively and dynamic. During the fires, bass response seemed especially good, as that side of things brought out real depth. Music also sounded bright and clear. There weren’t enough of those action scenes to bolster my grade above a “B”, but this was still a nice track.

As we move to the extras, we start with two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Dennis Dugan and actors Adam Sandler and Kevin James. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion. They talk about locations and sets, other cast members, cut scenes and editing, musical choices, and a few general notes.

With Sandler and James in tow, you might expect a lot of funny bits here. You won’t find many, unfortunately. Oh, there’s the occasional laugh, but for the most part, this is a track packed with happy talk and fluff. They kid around with each other and tell us how much they like different parts of the movie. They also make sure we know the names of many, many performers in the film, a trend that gets tedious quickly. This isn’t a very interesting track.

Note that although Pronounce boasts a “PG-13” rating, this is an “R”-rated commentary. Sandler lets the “F-bombs” fly, so if you have sensitive ears, you won’t be happy.

Next we get a solo track from director Dennis Dugan. He provides his own running, screen-specific discussion. Essentially Dugan covers the same topics found in the first track, though with a moderately different perspective. We get a fair amount of the same info. Dugan recorded this commentary after he did the other one and acknowledges that he’s repeating notes but does it anyway.

Dugan does offer a little more detail about the production without Sandler and James along for the ride – not a lot more detail, but enough to make this a more satisfying track for those who want to learn something about the film. Unfortunately, Dugan also uses the space to incessantly shill for his next movie. He seems to think his promotional efforts are amusing, but they’re not. They’re irritating at best. Despite that trend, this is the superior commentary of the two. It’s not a particularly good commentary, but it proves more useful than its predecessor.

Seven Deleted Scenes run a total of nine minutes, 44 seconds. We see Chuck and Larry as they get clothes for their wedding and also find out how they discovered their homeless witness. Larry refuses to let Chuck make it with a chick in his house, and we see them discuss their situation in the workout room. More scenes show their arrival at the costume party, Larry in the urinal at that event, Fitzer’s attempts to prove that C&L aren’t gay, and a little more of the firefighters at work. Some might’ve been slightly interesting in terms of exposition but none would’ve actually added anything to the movie. Given its already excessive length, it was a good idea to cut them.

We can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Dugan. Though chatty during the other tracks, Dugan says very little here. He throws out a few general notes about the cast and that’s about it. He alludes to the reasons he cut some of the clips but offers no insight and says very little. You can safely skip this weak commentary.

Five featurettes follow. Laughing Is Contagious goes for six minutes, 41 seconds as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Sandler, James and actor Jessica Biel – briefly, as they say almost nothing. Instead, this acts mostly as a blooper reel. We see some outtakes and lots of giggling. It’s a waste of time.

Next comes the five-minute and 11-second I Now Pronounce You Husband and… Husband?. It features Sandler, James, Biel, and actors Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi and Dan Aykroyd. This is a collection of happy talk comments about how much fun it was to make the film. Regard it as another essentially useless piece.

For the six-minute and 33-second Look Who Stopped By, we hear from Sandler, James, and actors Blake Clark, Allen Covert, Dave Matthews, Dan Patrick, David Spade, Peter Dante, Lance Bass, and Robert Smigel. This one looks at movie’s many cameos. Should you expect any substance? Nope. It simply lathers praise on all involved and tells us nothing of value.

Stop, Drop and Roll goes for five minutes, 24 seconds, and includes Sandler, James, Dugan, actor Brad Grunberg, stunt double John Clay Scott, and stunt coordinator Doug Coleman. We get some minor notes about shooting the fire sequences, but there’s little substance. Sure, it’s better than the others, but movie clips dominate and precious little information emerges.

Finally, Dugan: The Hands-on Director runs five minutes, 36 seconds and presents comments from Sandler, James, Dante, Biel, Aykroyd, Rhames, Dugan, Buscemi and actor Nick Turturro. We hear a little about the director and see his work on the set. Once again, fluff rules the day. A few of the shots from the production are interesting, but no quality facts pop up in this dull program.

A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for American Pie Presents Beta House, Bring It On: In It to Win It, White Noise 2, Saturday Night Live and HD-DVD. No trailer for Pronounce appears here.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry takes a pretty lame premise and turns it into an even less intriguing film. Packed with cheap gags, nary a laugh can be found. The DVD offers decent to good picture and audio. While we get a fairly long roster of extras, most aren’t very useful. This ends up as a mediocre release for a truly terrible movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.647 Stars Number of Votes: 17
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main