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</script></div>{/googleAds}It isn't often that a comedy finds itself at the center of controversy, unless it's humor is designed to do just that (the hysterical Borat, anyone?). But that's exactly what happened with the latest offering from Adam Sandler. From accusations that the film was a carbon copy of the Australian film Strange Bedfellows, the initial writer disowning the film, to Rob Schnieder's portrayal of an Asian minister, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry opened to some bad word of mouth. But the real tragedy is without this real-life drama perpetuating interest this film is not a very interesting offering to begin with.

Telling the story of two very different best friends, who would seemingly do anything for one another, the film finds the two firemen deciding to feign a gay marriage to aid Larry (Kevin James) in getting much-needed benefits for his children's future. Chuck (Adam Sandler) - an uber-bachelor with more scantily clad women than a Hooters convention reluctantly agrees, but when their relationship comes under suspicion from the government, and they hire foxy lawyer Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel) to defend them, he finds the charade an ever-increasing burden as he falls in love with her.

The story is solid, the themes of friendship and loyalty good ones (as well as being the film's only saving grace) but where it strays and all but drowns its good intentions is in it's characterisations and tendency to rely on clichés a little too often. When it does try and make a statement about tolerance, whether toward gay rights or friendship, it gets awfully preachy and insultingly simplistic. But by far it's biggest drawback is that it's simply not that funny. There are very few new jokes here, no belly laughs, and whole patches throughout of... ‘Meh, who cares?'

A lot of this may be attributed to Sandler's once hot formula now quickly becoming old. The always expected cameos of his buddies are wearing thin, and the yelling New Yorker in him, ready to punch on, is all-too familiar and done better in previous attempts. Kevin James fairs better, and continues to be the ‘likeable' chubby guy, but he like Sandler has played to his strengths better in a previous film, and would do well to mix things up sooner than later. Jessica Biel is a perfect object of desire, but her character is not well-developed, beyond being eye candy and simply there to serve as a plot point/obstacle for Sandler's Chuck. The two controversial characterisations are Chuck's woman who wear next to nothing, are as dumb as doggie-doo, and live only to please Chuck and Schnieder's Asian minister that plays like a riff on the Mickey Rooney shtick from Breakfast At Tiffany's. For a film that wants to preach tolerance these two characterisations seem out of place and out-dated. Had there been consequences within the story to warrant these representations a lesson to be learnt through our heroes: similar to what they learn about gay people while pretending to be gay then they could have gotten away with it. But as it stands, it's not surprising some people took offence. I think others calling the filmmakers racist or morally bankrupt is too much - they do make attempts to show acceptance of all - but they are definitely pushing their luck with those characters.

Oft Sandler contributor, director Dennis Dugan, adeptly tends to the look of the film and shows the odd flare for action, but there are a few dodgy effects within (the boys riding along on the fire truck has one of the worst rendered back projections since theme parks exclaimed, ‘We can put you in the movies!') and visually moments throughout that leave one feeling flat and listless the death knell for a comedy.

While not being a disaster by any means, the fact that gossip became the predominant reason to see this film highlights it's shortcomings better than any review ever could: it simply isn't a film that lives up to its intentions.


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes; director's commentary; featurettes.

* Commentaries
o 1- With Dennis Dugan, Adam Sandler and Kevin James
o 2- With Dennis Dugan
* Featurettes
o Laughing is Contagious (06:40)
o I Now Pronounce You Husband and ... Husband? (05:11)
o Look Who Stopped By (06:33)
o Stop, Drop and Roll (05:24)
o Dugan: The Hands-On Director (05:36)

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging