There is certainly a movie to be made about how changes in our nation's domestic partnership laws and the push to redefine marriage are affecting the lives of everyday Americans. There may even be a funny movie to be made about it. But I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry-rated PG-13 for crude sexual content, nudity, language, and drug references-is not that movie.
When widowed firefighter Larry (Kevin James) discovers that his pension benefits won't pass on to his children if he's not married, he turns to his womanizing best friend Chuck (Adam Sandler) for help. The scheme they devise to pose as a gay couple soon has the city of New York investigating them for fraud, so on the advice of their civil-rights attorney (Jessica Biel) they head to Canada to make their union official.
Sandler fans who expect the same obvious sexual humor and explosive antics that made his previous films hits won't be disappointed. But they may be surprised to discover that this time he has mixed a healthy dose of political propaganda in with his sophomoric shtick. From the start, the film portrays everyone who isn't on board with same-sex marriage as hate-filled bigots who would also deny gays the right to work if given half a chance. And the nature versus nurture debate is settled with the never-seen-in-real-life behavior of Larry's flamboyantly homosexual 10-year-old son.
Most offensive, for a film that purports to tear down stereotypes, is how often ugly caricatures of Christians are trotted out, with gangs of roving Bible-thumpers hurling slurs and threats at the gay community wherever they congregate. Of course, few would argue that there are no self-described Christians like this, but it's ironic that a film that claims to celebrate tolerance would paint all believers with that unfair brush.