"I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK & LARRY"
Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    BLURAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Adam Sandler as CHUCK LEVINE
    Kevin James as LARRY VALENTINE
    Jessica Biel as ALEX MCDONOUGH
    Dan Aykroyd as CAPTAIN TUCKER
    Ving Rhames as DUNCAN
    Steve Buscemi as CLINTON FITZER

    Rated PG-13
    Studio: Universal

    Directed by: Dennis Dugan

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Brooklyn firefighter Larry Valentine (James) discovers that his pension is in jeopardy because he failed to file the proper paperwork after his wife passed away. In order to ensure the money goes to his kids in the event of his death, he hatches a scheme. Larry convinces his best bud, ladies man Chuck Levine (Sandler), to pose as his gay husband. They think they have things locked up until the city begins an investigation on their relationship to make sure it’s real. Chuck and Larry begrudgingly carry on pretenses as a gay couple while Chuck falls in love with their lawyer, the beautiful but easily duped Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel).

WHAT I LIKED
After letting “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” settle for a couple years, it’s nice to revisit it on Blu-ray. The film won’t be remembered as a classic, but rather a standard release among a slew of Adam Sandler comedies. Funny thing in retrospect is that after the success of “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and the soft box office of “Funny People,” the bigger star in this show is Kevin James (literally and figuratively) rather than Adam Sandler.

But the real charm of this movie isn’t its lead, although they are quite funny and give us plenty of great moments in the film. Rather, like any good comedy, the glue that holds things together is the supporting cast. Ving Rhames and Dan Akroyd are absolutely hilarious, along with a great bit part with Nick Swardson. Even Rob Schneider gives us a funny, if not startling politically incorrect, performance as the Asian wedding chapel operator who marries Chuck and Larry. (Still, the part makes me wonder if Schneider would even have a career today were it not for Adam Sandler.)

Of course, a personal favorite cast member of mine is Jessica Biel as Chuck and Larry’s attorney. It’s not a great feat of acting, but Biel manages to sizzle on screen in what could be the sexiest and most titillating performance in a PG-13 movie ever.

I do have to commend this movie a bit, considering it tackled the big political issue of gay marriage without getting too preachy. Oh, it stumbles into some political moments, but for the most part, the movie plays the issue very light, and that ironically will do more for the gay marriage cause than any heavy-handed film like “Brokeback Mountain” ever could.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Being a show about a politically charged topic like gay marriage, this made it hard to completely swallow as a broad comedy. The cameos of known homosexuals (e.g., Lance Bass and Richard Chamberlain) got to be a bit tiresome.

Aside from the sometimes political nature of the movie, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” didn’t always deliver as far as it could in the comedy department. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but the show did seem to pull its punches a bit. Maybe an R rating would have done this movie some good.

Finally, I do have to ask the question, especially after seeing “Funny People” this summer... why is Adam Sandler always portrayed as a chick magnet in his movies? He’s not bad looking, but he’s no Mario Lopez. I’ve always heard that Sandler is the nicest guy in real life, but does a fantasy ego creep into his casting moments? I just have to wonder about that.

BLU-RAY FEATURES
The new Blu-ray release has two commentary tracks, one with just director Dennis Dugan and the other with Sandler and James joining Dugan.

Using the BD-Live feature, you can pick and choose your own special features, and the U-Control feature gives the option of a “Friendship Test” you can take during the film, to see if you are a good friend.

The only problem with this release is the DVD release from 2007 actually has more special features on it than this Blu-ray, so if you’re looking for lots of bonus content, you’d be better off with the standard definition purchase.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who like Adam Sandler and Kevin James’ comedy.

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