Homophobic or funny? New faux-gay movie divides critics

Tony Grew July 24, 2007
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Adam Sandler’s new comedy film, I Now Pronounce You Chuck Larry, is concerned with two semi-homophobic firefighters who pretend to be gay and a couple to receive partnership benefits.

It has not been released in the UK yet, but has been a massive hit in the US, knocking Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from the number one slot at the box office.

But is this attempt to bring the issue of gay marriage into the minds of millions of heterosexual Americans a help or a hindrance?

Lisa Rose, writing in the Kalamazoo Gazette, explored the complex issue:

“It’s hard to say whether I Now Pronounce You Chuck Larry is a progressive film or a reactionary one. Although it supports gay marriage, the movie is packed with stereotypes that negate its message.

“The problem here is that the picture delivers 90 minutes of gay caricatures, along with a barrage of fat jokes, and culminates by lecturing the audience about how wrong it is to mock those who are different.”

The film’s co-star Kevin James defended the film. He told WENN:

“We screened it for gay rights group GLAAD (the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) because we certainly didn’t want to offend anybody in any way. The main reason of this movie is really just to make people laugh and that’s all we wanted to do.

“When you pick a subject like this, you’re honestly gonna have to walk that line and you want to show what it’s like out there.

“These guys are idiots in a way. They learn tolerance, what it’s about, and what happens when they have to pretend to be this way. That’s basically it, but we’re certainly not trying to tell people how to live their lives in any way, shape, or form.”

Damon Romine, entertainment media director for GLAAD, seemed to approve. He told the Boston Herald:

“Through this disarming type of comedy, there is this use of stereotypes and slurs, and it holds the mirror up for people to ask, ‘Where does this come from?’

“At the end of the day, this is a comedy that actually stresses the importance of family and treating others with dignity and respect. The film actually does send a very strong message.

“I can’t imagine a studio movie being made five years ago that even dealt with marriage equality and discrimination.”

UK film fans will get to make up their minds about I Now Pronounce You Chuck Larry when it comes to cinemas nationwide in September.

Watch the trailer! Click here.

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