I must admit sometimes my expectations for a movie tend to get a bit too high; of course this isn't completely my fault, mind you. Generally it's caused by what I see in the previews or who the actors/actresses are that are starring in the film, or who the director is, or maybe just the subject matter. Whatever the case, there are times that I get excited to see a movie and whether I just expected too much or whatever, the movie just flat out lets me down and I leave the experience wishing I could get my time back. A recent example of this occurrence would be the Adam Sandler ("Reign Over Me") led comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry", also starring Kevin James (TV's "King of Queens") and Jessica Biel ("Stealth").
"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" is the story of two firemen, Chuck (Adam Sanlder) and Larry (Kevin James), best friends who would do anything for each other. After Larry's wife passed away, and some forgetfulness on his part regarding necessary paperwork noting his spouse's passing, Larry discovers that his department's benefits will not cover his children should something happen to him, that is unless he is legally married. With such a hazardous job and the thought of leaving his kids with nothing looming over him, Larry does the only thing he can think to do, marry his best friend Chuck. However, by making this choice they must convince the rest of the world that their gay marriage is completely real, and this will prove to not be such an easy task for these two completely straight guys.
The previews for this movie portrayed the film as a laugh out loud comedy that by all rights would have me hurting from laughter. I mean with subject matter such as straight guys posing as homosexuals the possibility for comic gold was obvious. However, the result was somewhat lacking and the movie was left feeling overly long, with a thin story line that seemed to have way too many lulls between laughs, and way too politically correct for its own good. `Chuck and Larry' wound up being yet another movie that had a great preview that completely sold me on the film, but when I got to the actual movie I had already seen all the good stuff in the preview.
As a fan of Adam Sandler, I've gotta say I expected much more from him here. Comically this had to have been his absolute weakest film to date. Sure the stuff that was shown in the previews was funny, but that's pretty much all there was. I felt that it seemed like Sandler was playing it safe with this movie, not wanting to possibly offend anyone, therefore all the jokes and comic situations were watered down to fit into our politically correct world. This wasn't the only problem I had with Adam in this movie though; he also acted as if he wasn't really into the role of Chuck. Most of his scenes were so flat and boring that I was surprised the director actually accepted them for the movie. Kevin James was much better in the role of Larry, but even his funniest moments were shown in the previews. I will say that Kevin did have one of the most dramatic scenes, and possibly one of the best scenes, in the movie when he had to face the fact that his wife had died and it was time for him to move on. Kevin played the scene so well, his pain was so genuine and him talking to his wife as if she were in the room with him was such a nice touch to fully illustrate just how connected he still was to her and how hard letting go has been for him. The rest of the cast was decent, Jessica Biel was a good choice for the eye candy role of the movie, and her role didn't require much on her part other than looking sexy, which isn't much of a stretch for her. Steve Buscemi as the slimy, somewhat creepy government employee attempting to prove that Chuck and Larry's relationship is a sham was perfect and it's a role he always handles so well. Ving Rhames and David Spade made several funny appearances that were surprising and enjoyable, but didn't really add much to elevate the movie above being a below average comedy. The biggest surprise out of the entire cast was Rob Schneider as the oriental minister, I normally get a small kick out of Schneider's cameos in each of Sandler's comedies, but this role was probably his best to date. He was so hilarious in the few scenes he was in, actually stealing the spotlight from Adam and Kevin in those instances, and I was left wishing that his character actually had more to do in the film, and maybe then the movie would have been better.
Truthfully, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" would have been a better movie if it would have trimmed down the running time by about thirty minutes. Most comedies are only 90 minutes, very few actually try for the two hour mark, and those that do are smart enough to cram enough jokes and maybe even a little drama to fill in the space, but `Chuck and Larry' apparently went for the less is more approach to fill in their two hour run time, and the decision backfired massively. Had I not seen all the funny parts in the previews (and they were funny, enough to get my expectations up), the running time been shorter, and the jokes not been so politically correct, then I think this movie could have been the laugh out loud comedy I was expecting it to be. But often times what we expect is rarely what we actually get.
"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" is rated PG-13 for language and sexual references.