Normally I don’t issue statements or make judgments about movies I haven’t yet seen (except to say – “Wow that film looks like crap – I can’t wait to NOT see it!”). However I have had to endure endless previews for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry for what seems like months now. The movie, in case you don’t know, is about two straight firefighters who pretend to be a gay couple to get domestic partnership benefits. Yeah right. Every time my partner and I have to sit through this thing, we roll our eyes and comment on how unfunny and offensive it looks. Apparently, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) doesn’t agree.
According to towleroad.com, GLAAD has given the movie its seal of approval, stating that “the film promotes tolerance more than any use of broad comedic strokes might unwittingly mock the real-life struggle for marriage rights.” Testimonials from GLADD reps and people who have worked on the movie chime in with the “acceptance” bit and the feeling that it’s all in good fun and it’s sweet and stresses the importance of family and blah blah.
Here’s the thing: the trailer is what sells the movie. It is supposed to be edited in a way that conveys the spirit of the movie and gets people interested. Who is the trailer selling to? Gays and lesbians who take the struggle for equal rights very seriously, or straights who are cool with gays and may even have gay friends, but hey it still kinda gives them the heebee jeebees, man??
Case in point: in the trailer, a man approaches Kevin James and says he wants to discuss his domestic partnership. James falls off the ladder he was standing on in shock. Adam Sandler feels Jessica Biels breasts and cries “Icky!” in mock gay disgust. James’ child asks him if he and Sandler are “homosexicals” (aw, how cute) – cut to James looking freaked out and flustered. During their wedding (administered by Rob Schneider in an offensive “Chinaman” costume), instead of kissing, the two guys smack each other. Okay we get it – the two guys are so not gay and are freaked out by acting gay. So what’s the point?
Hey I’m all for a little un-PC humor, even at the expense of gays, but from the looks of things this film amounts to little more than mockery. I’m sure it’s not intended in a mean-spirited way (giving the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt), but the concept alone is hard to take lightly, much less the way it’s executed (at least in the trailers). It seems less intent on promoting “tolerance” (a tepid word which rarely amounts to actual acceptance and understanding) and more focused on reinforcing the straight male fear of all things gay, or even the appearance of gay. Boiled down to a word: “homophobia.”