Admittedly, "Hairspray" was first on my list for this weekend's viewings, hence why I didn't get to the theatre until Sunday night. From the looks of the weekend's numbers, and the fact the place was darn near a sell-out crowd, maybe my order of films could have been re-thought. Alas, such are thing, bringing us to "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."
Larry and Chuck are New York city firefighters; Larry's still mourning the loss of his wife more than a year ago, and in part, why he failed to open any of the pension mail to switch over his benefits... so now his kids won't benefit should he die in the line of duty. He and Chuck are in a fire when Larry saves Chuck's life, and Chuck offers to do anything to repay him; Larry proposes -- literally -- they go into a domestic partnership to retain the pension benefits.
Chuck is a chronic womanizer and not at all keen on the idea, but comes around to it with, all at 4am, and while he has several Hooter's restaurant girls and his doctor in his bedroom. In the morning, he wakes up to a new life of pretending to be a gay guy.
It's a comedy, certainly, and there are some of the usual Adam Sandler trappings of physical gags and goofy facial expressions in his Chuck role. Larry (Kevin James) is again the loveable guy who just needs a break, not unlike him as Albert in "Hitch" a few years back. As a duo, they are a pretty good match, and the dynamic of straight guy and funny guy work this time around. Toss in Jessica Alba as their hottie attorney Alex (and the object of pseudo-gay Chuck's affection), and the cast is all around a pretty easy watch for the nearly two hours in the seats.
I'm a long way from being the uptight 48-year-old spinster librarian from Altus, but I did get a bit distracted with some of the language and its frequency throughout, much with Chuck's character. I don't know if the effort was to portray him as a blue-collar, beer-drinking sort of guy, but he came across that way at times; it was an odd mix as trying to portray a NYC firefighter and the macho bravery that you tend to associate with the job. Not the end of the world, but a distraction.
I was honestly expecting something of two hours of gay jokes and cheap gags, so I was surprised to find some substance between the titles and credits. Sandler, while still a comedian at heart, has been taking on some more meaty roles ("Reign Over Me" earlier this year, "Spanglish" a few years ago) that are showing there's more to him that just that goofy sideways look he likes giving.
All told, well worth the visit to the theatre. Would I have swapped it for Hairspray, well... that's a tough call, having seen both. But both are worth adding to your "to do" list, certainly.