Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
We’ve all met the party guest who drunkenly stumbles uninvited into a social discussion and belches that he has gay friends as if to prove a lack of prejudice.
Being mired in that conversation for 115 inescapable minutes approximates the experience of watching 2007’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry — an abysmally unfunny dud starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James as firemen feigning homosexuality to reap domestic-partner benefits for one’s kids.
No groaningly obvious double entendre, homophobic spit-take or gay pun gets left behind. Even its gay panic is safe, right down to a will-they-or-won’t-they guy-on-guy smooch in a courtroom.
No great Sandler comedy has ever ended in the halls of justice, and Chuck and Larry predictably bogs down with platitudes during a second hour when Things Get Serious.
A director for whom even the lamest sitcom would be too sophisticated, Dennis Dugan throws in peppy music en route to dangerous fire calls. It’s as if Carl Winslow of Family Matters heard jazzy saxophones while responding to a hostage negotiation. Chuck and Larry was yet another film of Dugan’s destined for Satan’s Multiplex, along with Saving Silverman and National Security.
Its sole plus is James’ sweetly exasperated performance. Meanwhile, Sandler hobbles around with a cane and cigar in a strained effort to be Walter Matthau to James’ Jack Lemmon.
If one of Chuck and Larry’s big messages was that there’s nothing worse than pretending to be something you’re not, here’s a call-out to something disingenuously, dubiously dubbed a comedy.