When red tape prevents firefighter Larry from naming his kids as his pension beneficiaries, he asks friend and colleague Chuck to pretend to be his domestic partner in order to get around the bureaucracy. However their charade gets increasingly complicated.
I’ve got a high horse and I’m going to get on it. Universal may have screened I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry to GLAAD (the Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and other gay groups to try and prove it wasn’t homophobic, but you can’t get around the fact that it trades on every homosexual stereotype imaginable. Films like this are the 21st Century equivalent of the 1970s TV sitcoms about how hilarious it is black people move in next door and how Indian people have accents.
Nowadays, despite the fact that at the time these shows thought they were progressive, we see them as incredibly offensive, to the point where few channels would dare to show them. In 2007 it’s apparently perfectly fine to do exactly the same thing, except about gay issues, because, well, you’re allowed to laugh at gay people, aren’t you? And because the film tacks on a few feeble lines about tolerance, we’re supposed to ignore the fact it’s basically two hours of rampant homophobia, casual sexism and occasional racism.
There’s not much more to say than that, other than that even if you do think homosexuality is just about the most riotously funny thing since Bernard Manning was taken off TV, the jokes are still tired, obvious and stale. In 1961, Dirk Bogarde starred in Victim, which suggested that gay people were indeed damaged freaks, but it wasn’t their fault and so we shouldn’t be horrible to them. It was an idea that’s perhaps forgivable for a film made when homosexuality was still illegal and gay people were forced to the very edges of society. It’s just very sad that 50 years later, Hollywood still seems to think the same thing.
Overall Verdict: The film can’t feed off homophobia for two hours and then expect to be forgiven when it waves a rainbow flag for five seconds.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac