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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Many, many gay and fat jokes. Before Chuck realizes firsthand how homosexuals are discriminated against, he's the first to say hateful words about homosexuality; later he changes his tune -- as do the rest of the firefighters, but that's only after the movie mines as much humor out of LGBTQ stereotypes as possible. Larry's young son is suspected of being gay because he would rather tap dance and sing in musicals instead of engaging in more "masculine" activities like sports; as much humor from this situation as possible is mined before it's revealed that Chuck has been helping Larry's son rehearse for an audition, and it doesn't make a difference what the boy's sexual orientation might be, but by that point, it's too little too late. There's no redeeming the movie's painful Asian stereotypes, which take the form of a Canadian wedding chapel owner (it's obviously Rob Schneider dressed as an East Asian man). Also, most of the female characters are treated as sex objects in an attempt to comedically exaggerate Chuck's "Casanova" character. A mentally ill homeless man is the butt of some jokes.
Positive Role Models
Gay stereotypes abound, and these stereotypes are often the source of the comedy, even as it seems as if the movie is trying to address and confront homophobia. The minister who weds Chuck and Larry is a white man pretending to be Asian, and resorts to all the worst cliches of the stereotype. Most of the women are presented as little more than sex objects for Chuck's enjoyment, including a female doctor and lawyer who eventually end up as scantily clad as the other women Chuck seduces. Fat-shaming is another source of humor throughout the movie.
Violence & Scariness
Chuck punches a protesting minister who calls him a "f-ggot." Joke about prison rape.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Chuck is known as a womanizer; he has five lingerie-clad girlfriends spending the night. He makes twin sisters kiss each other (off screen -- viewers see the firefighters' reactions). A woman discusses how "freaky" she can get in bed. After flirting in a sexist manner with a female doctor while recuperating in the hospital, the doctor is later shown in Chuck's bedroom wearing lingerie, and as seduced by Chuck's charms as the other scantily-clad women spending the night in his bedroom. Firefighters' bare buttocks are visible in a fairly long shower scene. Many jokes about all the "hot gay sex" Chuck and Larry are having while they're pretending to be a couple. Chuck receives pornographic material (a blow-up doll, brown paper packages marked "explicit," Trojan XL condoms case, etc.) in the mail. A calendar shows hetero men in homosexual poses. While still pretending to be gay, Chuck is asked to place his hands on the breasts of his lawyer/love interest, so she can prove to him that "they're real." When his lawyer/love interest starts to remove her clothes in front of him, Chuck borrows a sweatshirt so he can hide his erection. When Chuck moves in with Larry, Chuck receives a voluminous amount of pornography in the mail, including magazines found by one of the kids.
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Homosexual hate words like "f-ggot" and "f-g" are used for the first half of the movie, including by the main characters; Chuck later explains why it's insensitive to use those words. Other curse words include "ass," "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch," "whore," "dick," "fatboy," etc. Middle finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Budweiser beer product placement throughout the movie. Trojan condoms.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Joke about Vicodin. Cigar smoking. When Larry first asks Chuck to be his domestic partner, Chuck responds by reaching for a bottle of booze and chugging it. Champagne drinking. Chuck shows an obviously stoned store employee the marijuana joint that started a fire; Chuck then sprays the employee with his fire extinguisher, and the employee acts like the spray is getting him high. Chuck and another character drink wine; partygoers drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is a 2007 comedy. The premise is that Larry (Kevin James) needs his best friend and fellow NYPD fireman Chuck (Adam Sandler) to be his "domestic partner" so that Larry can name his kids as the beneficiaries of his life insurance policy after the untimely passing of Larry's wife. While arguably a mid-2000s attempt at addressing homophobia, any "wokeness" is overwhelmed by a movie that mines so much humor out of gay stereotypes. Besides jokes mined out of these gay stereotypes (for instance, Larry's son is strongly suspected of being gay because he prefers musicals and tap dancing to baseball, because apparently homosexuals don't play sports), there's also humor rooted in fat-shaming, as well as a particularly excruciating Asian stereotype, where a white man (Rob Schneider) is made to look "Asian" as he speaks in the stereotyped voice of an Asian man trying to speak English. Most of the women are presented as little more than sex objects. Sandler plays a womanizing, "hot" fireman who can apparently bed five women at once. Strong language throughout ("ass," "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch," "whore," "dick," "fatboy") as well as gay slurs ("f-ggot"). Even if tweens and younger teens are Sandler fans, they may be too young to separate the juvenile jokes from an underlying do-good message that gets overwhelmed by said juvenile jokes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For of all the movie's borderline -- and outright -- offensive laughs, there's a well-intentioned message of tolerance, diversity, and so on. Under so many layers of tired humor, the tiny kernel of wisdom easily gets lost, and its message about tolerance apparently doesn't extend to the obese (who are cheaply made fun of in the majority of Sandler's movies) and East Asians, who will no doubt cringe at the horrifying sight of Rob Schneider -- one of the many Saturday Night Live vets to cameo -- playing the Asian wedding officiant. With his bowl cut, buck teeth, and thick glasses (not to mention the awful accent) Schneider is the worst caricature of an Asian man in nearly half a century. On the bright side, at least there's a hilarious moment when a hitherto scary Ving Rhames starts belting out a Diana Ross tune in the shower. That alone is worth one star.
Adam Sandler is a comedian who occasionally astonishes audiences with his range (Punch-Drunk Love) and sincerity (The Wedding Singer). But, for the most part, he makes his living playing and acting the crass fool and this "comedy" is not one of the exceptions in the Sandler filmography. Even the addition of lovable everyman Larry Valentine, the Chuck factor dominates the movie.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.