I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

 
Typical Sandler comedy overflows with stereotypes.
  • Review Date: November 5, 2007
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

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 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).

Violence

Chuck punches a protesting minister who calls him a "faggot."

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. 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.

Language

Homosexual hate words like "faggot" and "fag" are used for the first half of the movie; later, a character explains why it's insensitive to use those words. Other curse words include "ass," "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch," "whore," "dick," "fatboy," etc.

Consumerism

Trojan condoms

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Chuck shows an obviously stoned store employee the marijuana joint that started a fire; Chuck and another character drink wine; partygoers drink.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie was originally rated R and had to be resubmitted to earn its PG-13 rating. As with many Sandler movies, the jokes make fun of people -- in this case, mostly homosexuals and the obese. It's 90 percent lowbrow shenanigans and 10 percent heart, with an oversimplified message that discrimination is bad and tolerance is good. (Also good: best friends who would do anything for each other.) Expect raunchy setups (Sandler plays a womanizing, "hot" fireman who can apparently bed five women at once), tired stereotypes (the firefighters look horrified when they accidentally drop the soap in a butt-baring shower scene), and strong language ("s--t," "dick," etc.). Even if tweens and younger teens are Sandler fans, they may be too young to separate the juvenile jokes from the underlying do-good message.

What's the story?

The setup of 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 children 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?

QUALITY
 

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.

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 was worth one star.

Families can talk 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? 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

Theatrical release date:July 19, 2007
DVD release date:November 6, 2007
Cast:Adam Sandler, Jessica Biel, Kevin James
Director:Dennis Dugan
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:crude sexual content throughout, nudity, language and drug references.

This review of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bywijopa April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Offensive Gay Pandering

Took my wife and 13 y.o. daughter to see this movie. Two complaints. First, the sex scenes, such as Adam Sandler's breast fondling and the babes in the bedroom, are not appropriate for a 13 y.o. I got no problem with that in an R rated movie, but not PG-13. I would never have taken my daughter to see this movie had I known. Second, the moralizing about gay tolerance at the end was pure pandering to get the rating changed from R to PG-13. Guess you can have all the "faggot" jokes and gay stereotypes you want as long as you redeem yourself in the end. Too transparent. I think many gays will be offended by that.
Adult Written byana.miles April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

I never knew Adam Sandler was a misogynist

I took my 13 year old daughter and her friend to this movie, having no idea how poorly women were represented. Every woman in the movie is a protrayed as sex slaves, unable to control themselves around Adam Sandler, even the 60 year old Russian babysitter, his doctor, and eventually his attorney. I was particularly disturbed by the way the professional women were depicted. It's great to see women role models such as Doctors and Attorneys, but in the end they were just as slutty as all the other women in the movie. I was disappointed that your website made no mention of the treatment of women in this movie. Instead, it focused soley on the treatment of homosexuals and obese people. It appears that the woman's perspective is lacking in your reviews.
Written byAnonymous July 20, 2014
age 16+
 

Crass immature humor for mature teens and adults.

my rating:R for comic violence,language,crude sexual humor,drug use and nudity

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass