I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry Movie Poster Image
Typical Sandler comedy overflows with stereotypes.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 33 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

Chuck punches a protesting minister who calls him a "f-ggot." Joke about prison rape. 

Sex

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. 

Language

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. 

Consumerism

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. 

What 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. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byAspen12345 December 26, 2018

It depends

Okay so I think that this movie really is not bad at all. There’s a few cuss words here and there and a few sexual innuendos but it all depends on the child. Al... Continue reading
Adult Written byJeffreeviews March 26, 2020

Average movie with high points

Dont usually write reviews, but with all the negative reviews about 'homophobic' jokes felt that I had to respond. The movie is a representation (a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJacob Hetfield April 17, 2019
Teen, 13 years old Written byYS99 November 26, 2018

What's the story?

The setup of I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY is simple: pudgy firefighter Larry (Kevin James) is a widower whose New York City fire department benefits can no longer be changed to make his kids his beneficiaries -- unless he remarries. Enter Chuck, a loud, offensive, womanizing firefighter. After Larry saves Chuck's life during a fire, Chuck tells Larry he owes him "anything" he wants. What Larry wants is a fake domestic partnership so the kids will be taken care of ... so, naturally, Chuck and Larry have to pretend to be gay life partners. At first, the charade is low-key -- a civil ceremony at a courthouse and a few weeks of Chuck's mail forwarded to Larry's address. But the pals have to really let their rainbow flags fly when the benefits department sends an intrusive auditor (Steve Buscemi) to find out whether they're trying to defraud the government. Enter gay-friendly defense attorney Alex (the lovely Jessica Biel), who believes her new clients, even though Chuck can't keep his bedroom eyes off of her. To kick up the facade a notch, the couple endures getting outed, literal "don't drop the soap" jokes in the firehouse shower, a ridiculous marriage ceremony in Canada, and their first taste of discrimination. All of a sudden, they realize how insensitive they've been in the past.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the issues raised by the film -- particularly discrimination. Why do Chuck and Larry's firefighter friends start treating them differently once they're outed as a couple? What do Chuck and Larry learn about homophobia? 

  • Does the presentation of female characters as being little more than sex objects eager to fulfill Chuck's every desire come across as necessary for the sake of comedically exaggerating Chuck's "Casanova" tendencies, or does it come across as humor rooted in lazy cliches?

  • Do the stereotypes in the movie (about gay people, overweight people, and Asians) detract from its intended message? Is it OK to use hate words in comedies? What would you have done differently if you were making this movie?

Movie details

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