I Now Pronounce You Boring and Stereotypical...

By Jeff Walsh

Umm, I try not to be overly-sensitive about things. In fact, I sort of hate political correctness, but I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was just amazing in its ability to cart out every gay stereotype known to man, but tag one little message at the end and get the GLAAD seal of approval (further proof of its uselessness).

Granted, we are shown that this movie exists in a different reality from the start because every girl under the sun wants to sleep with Adam Sandler and he is the hot guy used on their fireman's calendar for February (Was James Mr. January and the calendar gets hotter as the year progresses?). I did like how that was used as a clue to the audience that the movie was not going to exist in actual reality. From the very start, we are given the rules by which the movie will play: Adam Sandler is one of the hottest things going on in this town. I'm fine buying into the conceits of any film, though. But come on, sure Adam Sandler can get any girl now, but I can't imagine that pre-SNL this was the case.

So, a homophobic ladies man and a guy who wants to provide for his kids because he is at risk as a firemen decide to pretend they're gay for the insurance coverage. I don't know much about insurance policies, but this flawed premise is required for the rest of the movie to work, so we'll have to let it go.

They go get married by Rob Schneider in Canada, who decides to balance out the homophobia by doing an offensive Asian stereotype. Instead of kissing during the ceremony, which they need for pictures to put around the house to show they are really a couple, Sandler slaps Kevin James across the face, telling Schneider "that's how we roll in our house, baby." This is amazingly stupid, but gets an appreciative guffaw from Schneider.

As soon as it is revealed they are gay, even though their intention was to be, in Sandler's term "paper faggots," aka keeping it quiet except for the paperwork, every guy they meet wants Sandler. Again, since every woman wanted him, I guess we have to accept that in this version of reality, Sandler is some hot commodity in the gay world now. Of course, their mailman is gay and will "hand deliver" any "big packages," and every other postal double entendre you can think of. Ving Rhames plays the silent, menacing new guy on the squad, leading to rumors that he killed a man. Once Sandler and James come out, he reveals his secret and before long is singing "I'm Every Woman" in the communal showers after, of course, not one but two bars of soap are dropped, and none of the straight firemen can pick them up, fearing for their receptive anal purity.

The movie plays both sides of a bad coin for the sake of comedy. When there are laughs to be made being homophobic, they go there. When the laughs come from Sandler and James arguing in a way that makes them seem like an old married couple, such as Sandler saying he pretended to laugh at all of James's jokes, then they go there.

Ultimately, the thing crashes down around them, they are revealed to be straight and Sandler makes some uplifting speech about how faggots are OK or somesuch tripe. So, 105 minutes of homophobia and 5 minutes of redemption makes everything fine?

This is, of course, what got them their GLAAD seal of approval. But, to think that this compared to Kevin Smith's Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back, which got GLAAD in a hissy fit, despite Smith being so pro-gay and always putting the homophobic stuff in the mouths of his dumbest characters while everyone around them clearly knows better, it is just phenomenal. (In fact, some of the anti-gay stuff happened in editing, as Smith's original girl group in the movie were supposed to include a lesbian couple, so his "anti-gay" stuff actually was a result of editing, unlike Sandler and James where it happened in the writing room).

GLAAD extorted $10,000 out of Smith, by way of a donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, as a form of public apology. Yet this movie gets the papal dispensation? Unbelievable.

You can say it's just a dumb Sandler movie, but I've always liked dumb Sandler movies. That it's not meant to be taken seriously, and it's clearly not. But I don't think it can be denied that the movie is 95 percent homophobic stereotypes, and five percent BS to get the movie released without controversy. Had the movie derived comedy playing off the stupidity of homophobia, perhaps I'd thinking differently, but that wasn't the movie.

In any event, I think GLAAD owes Kevin Smith $10,000.

Thoughts?

Comments

Icarus's picture

everyone i know says this

everyone i know says this movie is hilarious. then again, i live in southern va. i really hoped this movie would kind of defeat some of the gay stereotypes, but the more i see of it, the more my heart sinks.

oh well, at least we have hairspray!

"Yes! No! Oh, damn!"

jeff's picture

Ironically...

some gays called for a boycott of Hairspray, because of Travolta being a Scientologist and Scientology being anti-gay. Of course, if we weren't allowed to attend movies if people in the cast/crew were part of an anti-gay religion, we wouldn't be able to see movies if the people were Muslims, Christians, Protestants, Jewishs, Baptists, Scientologists, or... well, everything but UUs and MCC members?

In short, you couldn't see any movies.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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Campfire's picture

The only reason I see the

The only reason I see the point of the anti-Hairspray-because-of-Travolta people though is Scientology is not a religion. Admittedly it's as farcical as any other, but it's still not a religion. It's a cult. A partly homophobic cult, and one you CHOOSE to partake in. I know its status as an official religion is arguable, but I'm not going to go down that road here :-)

Travolta actually defended Scientology and said it's the gay friendliest religion out there. This made me chuckle. The only way in which Scientology is an improvement on others in that respect is that it doesn't advocate the wanton execution of homos. Instead, Travolta could have said "Actually I endorse the belief that homosexuality is a sexual perversion, and as my wonderful "church" leader has said, people who suffer from it must be removed from society and "uniformly institutionalised" as soon as possible." Of course, that wouldn't have sounded so good now would it?

Upon reflection I'm actually not going to watch Hairspray, at least not the Travolta version.

Back on topic I'm not going to watch this film either. For one, I don't like Adam Sandler's humour (with the exception of the Meet the Family/Meet the Fockers duo). Secondly though, whilst I don't usually find camp humour offensive (<3 Jack from Will and Grace) to say "paper faggots" in a Hollywood movie...step too far. I can just imagine some American jocks spitting out their popcorn in hilarity at the "little fags" on screen thinking they could get married or unified. I can just see the ignorant walking into that theatre and walking back out even more ignorant than before, as if that's possible.

Besides all that, the very movie title makes it sound like a total washout and totally unfunny.

"If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon."
- George Aiken

Campfire's picture

Oh, and nice image title

Oh, and nice image title ;)

"If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon."
- George Aiken

duchess_madly's picture

yeah, i also live in VA and

yeah, i also live in VA and everyone has said this movie is really funny. i went to see it because of all my friends' raving reviews. and it is just a lot of bad gay jokes and a hetero romance in disguise.

:/ one star for it because i loved Kevin Butterfly.

dykehalo's picture

I'm actually really looking

I'm actually really looking forward to seeing it... yes homophobia and everything but hey i deal with it every other day why not see a movie with a ton of homophobia- when i see it i'll let ya know my other thoughts
~~~Fear is only a verb if you let it be.. don't you dare let go of my hand~~~

jeff's picture

Eh...

If you're going to pay for homophobia, hard to complain when your peers give it away for free, no?

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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dykehalo's picture

I'm not gunna pay for it..

I'm not gunna pay for it.. lol i gunna watch it online.. lol
~~~Fear is only a verb if you let it be.. don't you dare let go of my hand~~~

shadow fire's picture

Am I the only one other then Jeff who saw this movie?

Jeff is correct it plays on a TON of gay stereotypes (there is not a single gay man in the movie who is not a stereotype in some way or another) but the movie honestly is hilarious. But I can see Jeff getting upset about the movie because after the movie was over my parents didn't see anything wrong with the movie and it could of easily effected there ideals of gays because they asked me "Is there really a man and a woman in a gay relationship" Its really sad because it seems like I haven't seen a single thing where the gays aren't stereotypes (besides for the amazingness known as will and grace) O well, if holly wood wants to keep making mockery's of us then...actually **** them they should shut the h3!! up with the stereotypes.....*not sure where that sudden profanity came from...o well*

nydolls1973's picture

are you kidding, will &

are you kidding, will & grace? really??
To each his own but jesus, haven't you heard the (really bad) gay jokes they make literally every 5 minutes??
===
o how it hurt me sharp in the vein
it would never let me be still and still.

shadow fire's picture

Well there is gay

Well there is gay stereotypes in it (jack cough) but jack is hilarious and the thing I'm mainly referring to is that Will isn't a stereotype in the least, and everyone he dates isn't either.

You should defiantly watch the movie before passing judgment on it though, it was pretty funny.

nydolls1973's picture

Well Will is ok. But that

Well Will is ok. But that one lady who keeps coming in to say annoying things and leaves....SHE is the reason I can never watch the show more than 5 minutes!!
===
o how it hurt me sharp in the vein
it would never let me be still and still.

jeff's picture

Well...

Will & Grace is usually less controversial because nearly all of their "gay" lives take place off-screen. Will and Jack reference dates we rarely see. They cruise guys they don't talk to. And it took years before Will had an on-screen boyfriend. So, I don't know that I would hold up Will & Grace as the goal, either, although I think it had good writing and great timing from the cast.

It's sort of picking desexualized gay humor over anti-gay humor, though.

I maintain the Sandler movie is only funny if you don't realize that the majority of the audience laughing at it isn't necessarily disagreeing with it. That puts quite a damper on the humor.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

jeff's picture

Eh...

It required too high a suspension of disbelief to find it funny, and I do think most people are agreeing with the 95% and ignoring the moral nonsense at the end.

I would say that if you *do* plan to see this movie, buy a ticket for something else and sneak into this one. don't want to send a message that we want more of this...

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

nydolls1973's picture

And here I thought (not

And here I thought (not having seen the movie) that it wasn't so bad. You my friend have changed my opinion.
I can't believe they keep letting movies like this be released.
===
o how it hurt me sharp in the vein
it would never let me be still and still.

shadow fire's picture

Well Will and Grace may not

Well Will and Grace may not be the goal but the show is pretty awesome.

I agree the movie is pretty homophobic, but would you mind posting which things exactly pissed you off?

jeff's picture

Hmm...

I thought about doing that. Then I realized it would nearly be describing the film in chronological order, with bullet points.

Then, I thought, well, what did I *like* about it? Came up empty there, as well.

The outdated stereotypes of Sandler being pissed off that he is thought of as "the woman" in the relationship?

The horror they go through that James's son is obviously gay, as opposed to a similar character on Ugly Betty that is played beautifully, positively and casts the people offended by his behavior as the people with the problem.

Seriously, I'm coming up blank on anything worthwhile in the whole movie. Even the message at the end was more that Sandler didn't like being called a faggot since he wasn't a faggot moreso than there was all that much that changed.

Gay site AfterElton said much of the same things that I have. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is tracking poorly across nearly all critics, earning a 15 percent rating of positive reviews, most of them just giving him points for the message at the end.

But even among non-gay publications, you get:

"Chuck & Larry wants it both ways, indulging in ass obsession and the lamest queer stereotypes since Franklin Pangborn was in short pants, then hoisting the rainbow flag at half-mast in a panicky cry for tolerance." - Time Out

"reducing homosexuality to its lowest common denominators." -- Globe and Mail

"The movie is trying to tell you that gays are people too. Sure they're icky, embarrassing people, but you should still be nice to them." -- Philadelphia Weekly

"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry manages to insult gays, straights, men, women, children, African-Americans, Asians, pastors, mailmen, insurance adjusters, firemen, doctors -- and fans of show music. That's championship stuff." -- Wall Street Journal

"Relentlessly juvenile and awash in stereotypes." -- Variety

"That anyone in their right minds could be fooled into thinking that two hours of overt homophobia with a disingenuous punch line about tolerance is okay makes me pig-biting mad." -- Premiere Magazine

"While constantly spouting its be-kind-to-your-neighborhood-queer sermons, every dated, vicious stereotype of being a homosexual is dragged out again and again in this Adam Sandler vehicle." -- NY Theatre Wire

"The movie is a numbskull insult to gay people. Just on the basis of the mirthless trailer, however, they'll probably ignore it. I doubt they'll be alone." -- Kurt Loder, MTV

"If Dugan's crude, occasionally effective effort ends up chipping away at America's moron class regarding gay rights, that'll be nice. But even unrepentant homophobes deserve funnier." -- Chicago Tribune

"With a tacked-on PC message and leaden attempts at humor, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is a movie that gives marriage, homosexuality, friendship, firefighters, children and nearly everything else a bad name." -- USA Today

"The picture delivers 90 minutes of gay caricatures, along with a barrage of fat jokes, and culminates by lecturing the audience about how wrong it is to mock those who are different." -- Newark Star-Ledger

"Essentially, Chuck & Larry is an oafish chance for audiences to laugh at gay-bashing jokes and then feel morally redeemed for doing so." -- Washington Post

"I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry isn't just unfunny; it's racist, sexist and homophobic -- and truly unpleasant to watch. ... I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry practices exactly the kind of intolerance it preaches against." -- CBS 5, SF

"Not so much anti-gay as it is anti-humor, it's easily Adam Sandler's worst comedy ever, and it's depressing to watch him strain to be a Walter Matthau to Kevin James' sweetly exasperated Jack Lemmon. It's a groaningly obvious, abysmally unfunny dud." -- State Journal-Register

"Whatever gay stereotypes exist in this movie -- and they probably number in the hundreds -- the writers of the comedy are much tougher on morbidly obese people, hot women, the homeless, mailmen, unattractive women and particularly Asians." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"a gay rights film aimed at homophobic heterosexuals" -- 7M Pictures

So, I don't think I'm in any elite club thinking this movie isn't worth anyone's time.

That said, Adam Sandler wouldn't have a career if his audience paid any attention to the critics...

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

1stTeeka's picture

i want to see it

i want to see it, i've gotten mixed reviews. and will and grace rocks =)

**Far from a saint, not quite a sinner**

ACCgirl's picture

Pssh.

I saw this with my gf a while ago. We were slightly outraged by all the stereotypes and the highly improbable scenarios, but there were some funny parts, as is the case with most stupid comedies. I've always hated the stereotype that in a same-sex relationship there has to be one member who is effeminate and one who is masculine. This is simply not true, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry largely endorsed this stereotype, which was a little offensive. We saw it with my gf's younger sister, and afterwards, the sister asked in complete seriousness, "So which is the boy and which is girl with you two?" I wanted to slap the writers of the movie.

shadow fire's picture

You can't imagine how much I

You can't imagine how much I relate to you with that. It also annoyed me how after the girl/guy shit was established how the girl called Chuck a girl and wanted to have a girls time out and all of that crap. It pisses me off how my mom asked me if there is a girl/guy in a gay relationship.

jeff's picture

another take

on AfterElton, positing that Adam Sandler fans might be more OK with faggots after seeing this.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

shadow fire's picture

Idea

Why don't all of you who want to see Chuck and Larry just watch it online? then you wont be supporting the movie, and if you do like it and see it as a fair representation of LBG (which you wont) then you can buy a ticket for it at the movie theater.

Toph's picture

Eh, my opinion may not be

Eh, my opinion may not be worth much, but I thought for a Sandler movie and the hick crowd in my town, I thought it handled the gay rights issue kinda tenderly in a way that it didin't whiplash the audience with a bunch of gay pride. Hm, I dunno if that makes sense, but probably not since I just got home from Floriday.

jeff's picture

Also...

Just in a forum where this was posted, which made me laugh. Remember that Adam Sandler is Mr. February in his firemen's calendar?

Well, here is Mr. January 2008 in the New York City Firemen's Calendar:

Can you imagine seeing this for a month, then you turn the page and it's Adam Sandler?? :-)

On a side note, i think the debate whether it is anti-gay is secondary to the fact that it isn't very funny, as my headline stated it was both boring and stereotypical. The boring is the far greater offense for a comedy.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

shadow fire's picture

You cannot...

You cannot imagine how large of a smile that picture gave me....it made something else large too (yes too much information, but I'm 16, I can't help myself :D )

milee13's picture

And I had such high hopes

And I had such high hopes for that film!

Hmm...makes me think a bit differently about all those jokes I've made about marrying some of my male friends so that I can mooch off their insurance.....

bulldyke's picture

I'm never going to see it,

I'm never going to see it, it's way too stupid for me. I prefer courtroom drama and political thrillers. But not the point.

How on Earth, or in any other alternate universe, does anyone with any semblence of a brain, think that Adam Sandler is hot?! Come on! That's so pathetic!

Bulldyke
"I prefer the term gay because, well, lesbian has three syllables!" Emily Sailers
98 percent of the teenage population will try, does, or has tried smoking pot. If you are one of the 2 percent who hasn't, copy this into your sig.

PokemonGeek's picture

It is SOOOOOOOOOO

It is SOOOOOOOOOO cliche!

Poor is the man
Whose pleasures depend
On the permission of another
Love me, that's right, love me
I wanna be your baby
Wanting, needing, waiting
For you to justify my love
Hoping, praying
For you to justify my love
I'm open and ready
~Madonna

UpsideDownKate's picture

My thoughts

Honestly, I thought the movie was hilarious, and when I began to read the opinions of you all, I thought that maybe some of you were just taking it too seriously. Now let me say, that as a female, I can't possibly see it from the same perspective as a gay male who may compared to these stereotypes, but I still think that I am more sensitive being a queer girl than a straight one? I hope so anyway. This was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while, but I have to say that sitting there in the theater next to my mother it made me think. As I walked out, I thought of how "accepting" she was of Chuck and Larry, fictional though they were, she would have accepted any gay couple walking down the street. Then I thought to myself "Mom, if that was me, you wouldn't feel the same way". And she wouldn't, I think she tries to ignore my sexuality, yet tries to come off as "pro-gay". What a load of crap. Anyway, straying from the subject, I thought that sensitivity was the issue until I read Jeff's comment---"I maintain the Sandler movie is only funny if you don't realize that the majority of the audience laughing at it isn't necessarily disagreeing with it. That puts quite a damper on the humor." That kind of put it into perspective for me. I myself can laugh at it, accept the stereotypes and recognize the truths it exposes, but the rest of the audience has no idea. Not to sound "heterophobic", but a lot of the times I feel that straight people can't possibly understand our perspective. So in short, and I apologize for the rambling, I think its hilarious, but it takes a different spin when you realize how the straight world probably views the same film.

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not".

underdarkness's picture

I agree with you. I thought

I agree with you. I thought that this movie was pretty funny, and I'm saying that as a gay man. I think that it handles everything very well and even does a good job of making anti-gay, right wing conservative Christians look as stupid and hypocritical as they really are. A lot of it was pretty stereotypical, but dammit, if we can't laugh at ourselves sometimes then we'll never be taken seriously.

I also think that it does a good job of showing that anybody can be gay. Also, the homophobia in the movie was handled appropriately. I love how pissed off Adam Sandler gets when people call him a faggot.

Is it stereotypical? Yeah. So what? Every other minority can laugh at themselves, why can't we?

- One Nation, Under Darkness, with liberty and justice for white, heterosexual, rich, Christian men

jeff's picture

Err...

I don't think this qualifies as having an ability to laugh at ourselves, when straight people make a feeble attempt at a gay comedy, and you go to a theater that is filled with 99 percent straight people in order to laugh at yourself.

Going to see an openly gay standup comic who says inappropriate things onstage would fit the bill more than the Sandler flick.

This movie is move like an ability to laugh at the stereotypical notions that heterosexuals have about you. It's more like exploiting internalized homophobia for mass acceptance, in that case.

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

jojojo's picture

I've read enough to know

I've read enough to know that I am not gonna watch it. not that I would probably have watched it anyway

We have all been injured, profoundly. (Donna Haraway)
I Am Out, Therefore I Am. (Okay, mostly.)

parvenuebot's picture

Look at all the funny gays

You know, back in the day when they weren't poking fun at gay people, they used to poke fun at "darkies" those smiling black folks who good tap dance and sing funny little songs like, "it must be nice if ya have the price to lose, yes it must be nice if you have the price to lose, i don't have the price so itz why I sing the blues."
This is an outrage! Whenever I watch main stream bs, I always see how gays are portrayed as fun happy people, or psychotics in killing frenzies. Imagine if this were about Jews, or Polish or Blacks or any other minority or race, what if it were about Native Americans? Now I'm beginning to sound like one of the cavemen from that Geico commercial which is really giving our little Welsh Lizard a run for his money. But they're poking fun at us, and I think it's only funny if you aren't gay, or maybe if they were trying to make a statement against the absurdity of insurance bureaucrats. Its an affront people. There's nothing funny about little black sambo jokes and there's nothing funny about this either.

dykehalo's picture

I finally watched it.. and i

I finally watched it.. and i have mixed feelings about it.
It did play into wayyy to many setereotypes that homosexuals do have of gays.
But i also think it handled some of the homophobia well and there were moments of "life lessons" so it wasn't a complete waste.
I didn't find it all that funny.. i've heard the jokes before but i'd definitaly watch the movie again.
~~~Fear is only a verb if you let it be.. don't you dare let go of my hand~~~

jeff's picture

Damn girl...

You certainly have a low threshold for what you'd watch again... :-)

---

"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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