Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Repeat Bidness: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Release: 07/20/2007
DVD Release: 11/06/2007

Rated PG-13
1 hour, 55 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

"I'm not saying they're gay, but they've held one."

Adam Sandler and Kevin James star as Chuck Levine and Larry Valentine, best friends and Brooklyn firefighters. After a harrowing day on the job, Larry saves Chuck’s life. In return, Larry asks Chuck to save his kids’ lives by agreeing to become his domestic partner so he can maintain his medical benefits. Thinking this will be an easy fix, Larry is surprised when the city investigators begin snooping about. Larry has to persuade Chuck to cease his womanizing ways during the ruse and they hire a lawyer, Alex McDonough, played by Jessica Biel (Stealth), to protect their “gay marriage” rights.

By commingling the cohorts from the “King of Queens” and the Happy Madison shingle, the producers were able to release a surprisingly funny film. Both James and Sandler prove that comedians make decent dramatic actors as they temper this premise with tender emotion. Granted, Meryl Streep or William Hurt won’t be in jeopardy anytime soon, but having believable performances helps an outlandish premise. What also helps is having a director with great comedic pacing like Dennis Dugan (*Happy Gilmore) in charge of two genuinely funny actors.

Sandler and James also get a big hand from some side-splitting cameos and minor roles, and no, I am not talking about Sandler’s charity case Rob Schneider (see any other Sandler film). SNL alums such as Rachel Dratch, David Spade (*Grandma’s Boy), and Dan Aykroyd (Loser) give some of their funniest performances in ages. Ving Rhames brings a hilariously lighter side to his tough-guy appeal that’s reminiscent of his “Holiday Heart” role. One of my personal favorites, Nick Swardson (*Blades of Glory), enlivens the scenery as Biel’s brother Kevin “Butterfly” McDonough. Of course Sandler has his list of usual suspects accompanying him: Peter Dante, Allen Covert, Blake Clark and Jonathan Loughran – names you probably don’t know but whose faces are familiar. “C&L” tops everything off with cameos by Dave Matthews, among others, but you’ll have to see the film to enjoy them all.

Dirty Undies

I thought the best reason to see “Chuck and Larry” would be to see Jessica Biel flouncing around in panties and a latex catsuit. Surprisingly, Biel couldn’t hold a candle to Ving Rhames’ scene- stealing moments. Aside from Biel and Rhames eye candy, there are a slew of scantily clad Hooters Girls prancing around for Chuck and a lot of naked firemen washing off after a long day of throwing hose.

The Money Shot

“C&L” proves to be a heartfelt Sandler romp akin to “Mr. Deeds” only, you know, funny. The story as a whole, like most Sandler films, takes a bit of a leap to reach resolution, but if you wanted a gripping story you’d go sleep through “Evening” or “A Mighty Heart.” Those looking for not-so-PC laughs who have seen “Knocked Up” three of four times already will appreciate having this quality comedy to enjoy.

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