“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” review by Susan Granger

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On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” is a raunchy, testosterone-driven 5 – with a relevant message about tolerance and acceptance.

If you can overlook the slapstick and silly shtick, this mainstream, contemporary satire makes the case for civil unions, domestic partnerships and gay marriages.

Perennial bachelor Chuck Levine (Adam Sandler) and widower father Larry Valentine (Kevin James) are best-friend Brooklyn firefighters who resort to pretending to be gay ‘life partners’ when Larry has bureaucratic problems with his pension and Chuck offers to repay a life-saving favor. When a suspicious N.Y.C. fraud inspector (Steve Buscemi) questions their legitimacy, they hire a sexy, crusading lawyer (Jessica Biel) to defend their rights – “We’re big-time fruits”- not to mention the bodacious authenticity of her breasts.

Screenwriters Barry Fanaro, Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, along with Sandler’s favorite director, Dennis Dugan (“Happy Gilmore,” “Big Daddy,” “The Benchwarmers”), lack subtlety and credulity, falling prey to gay-cliché moments, like the prison rape joke, the dropping-the-soap in the locker-room shower joke, and a City Council president cameo by out-of-the-closet Richard Chamberlain – and the third-act simply succumbs.

But that’s not the fault of FDNY’s Engine 506/Ladder 223 firefighters played by Dan Aykroyd, Gary Valentine, Jonathan Loughran, Michael Buscemi, Renaldo Pinera, Peter Dante and Ving Rhames or “Saturday Night Live” alums Rachel Dratch and Robert Smigel, along with Dave Matthews and Lace Bass, plus Sandler sidekicks David Spade and Rob Schneider, who steals scenes as Canada’s Two Hearts Wedding Chapel minister.

As a side note, the usually publicity-shy, Sandler recently revealed he has a gay family member who’s in a long-term relationship and is well aware of discrimination faced by same-sex couples.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.