© Universal Pictures International Germany GmbH

Chuck und Larry - Wie Feuer und Flamme (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry)
U.S.A. 2007

Opening 27 Sep 2007

Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Writing credits: Barry Fanaro, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, Lew Gallo
Principal actors: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Aykroyd, Ving Rhames

Do you ever find yourself wondering quite at which audience Hollywood filmmakers aim their products? This movie might make you ask yourself that question. Comedy director Tom Shadyac, his production partner Michael Bostick and comedy writer Barry Fanato developed this story ten years ago, but it wasn’t until big star Adam Sandler and Kevin James agreed to work for them that they felt ready to make the movie. A lot has happened in the intervening ten years, not least the public’s attitude toward and acceptance of homosexuality. Surely nobody anywhere still laughs at jokes about gay couples or finds caricatures of gay people funny? Surely public tolerance and understanding has matured in the last ten years? Surely there was no need to make this movie?

I’ll give away some of the plot so you don’t have to bother yourself going to the cinema, forking out good money and watching it for yourself.

Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James) are firemen in Brooklyn. Larry saves Chuck’s life in a burning building so Chuck owes him big time. Now the plot thickens. Instead of grieving over his wife’s death, Larry should have been sorting out his life insurance. He discovers that red tape prevents him from naming his children as his beneficiaries. Not to worry, there is a loophole and all will be well if Chuck can be persuaded to be Larry’s domestic partner. Now you see how the film got its title.

Bureaucracy isn’t fooled so easily so Larry and Chuck decide to consult a lawyer and ensure that their arrangement looks convincing in the eyes of the world, not least their colleagues in the Brooklyn Firehouse. Their lawyer Alex (Jessica Biel) just happens to be female and gorgeous and, surprise, surprise, Chuck falls for her. How can he pretend to be gay and not betray his feelings, especially when Alex decides that he is her new best girlfriend? A successful lawyer forms an instant friendship with a fireman? Pigs might fly.

Alex suggests that the boys formalise their arrangement with a Niagara Falls wedding and invites them to a gay fancy dress party, which provides the script with lots and lots of corny jokes and overuse of the word faggot. In the end there is a court battle presided over by a judge played by Richard Chamberlain (who must have had food for thought as he played his part.) Fire Chief Captain Tucker (Dan Ackroyd) listens to his conscience and makes a dramatic confession in the courtroom, but you know that everything will turn out well.

This is a fast-paced movie full of clever and popular film stars, and it is a pity that they are let down by such a poor script. It is dedicated to the real fire fighters in the Brooklyn Firehouse where filming took place and to their brave colleagues who died on 9/11. (Jenny Mather)

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