Chuck SUXXX

So when I posted my diatribe against the new Adam Sandler homophobic spectacle I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, some people said I shouldn’t base my opinions on a movie trailer, albeit one rife with offensive moments. Maybe it’s not so bad, the naysayers said.

Well today the Chicago Tribune Red Eye lists the different types of humor featured in the movie in their official review (hint: they rate it “an abomination of human endeavor”).

Fat jokes: 30
Dead wife jokes: 2
Gay jokes: “stopped counting after 45”
Chuck and Larry attend an AIDS fundraiser and call it “homopalooza.”
A drop-the-soap firehouse shower sequence is included.

And that’s all I have to say about Chuck & Larry. I’m sure it will go on to make millions, though, and convert all Adam Sandler-loving homophobes into “tolerant” gay-friendly so & so’s. Ahem.

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26 Comments

Filed under 06_mr_furious

26 responses to “Chuck SUXXX

  1. In my defense, I didn’t say it was likely, just that it was possible. I’ll go over in the corner and shut up now.

  2. eastsidekate

    The blurb from Isthmus (Madison’s alternative weekly, which is usually fairly GLBT-friendly): In this contrived comedy, two manly Brooklyn firemen… marry each other for the insurance benefits. It turns from wild farce to heavy-handed gay-agenda movie.

    I’m just going by the commercials, but “heavy-handed gay agenda movie”? Puh-lease. I don’t even know what that means. Don’t make me write a letter to the editor over Adam Sandler.

  3. nightshift66

    I haven’t seen the movie, don’t plan to see it, and don’t particularly like Sandler or his movies. OK, I did like the football movie, but that’s because it was about football. Anyway, I have neither the desire nor the intent to defend Sandler or Chuck.

    I just want to note how interesting it is that our perspective can make us see the same thing in such very different ways. We see insults to the LGBT community, while at least one reviewer (and I’ll bet more than that) sees the movie as pro-LGBT. And, IIRC, there was a similar bifurcation over that Shallow Hal movie (guy can’t see his girlfriend is really big). I heard both that it promoted accepting people as they are and that it was terrible on fat people.

    I’ve stated often: it isn’t what was said that matters, it’s what was heard that matters.

    Open question for Shakers: if this same movie were made by a gay comedian, then under the rules of ‘you can make fun of your own,’ would your opinion of the movie change?

  4. Erin M

    I dunno, the trailer lost me at Rob Schneider. Is that guy capable of anything that isn’t a minstrel show of some sort?

  5. Little Mac

    Well, what I personally recall saying was that the movie would probably end up with a pro-gay message, because this sort of juvenile comedy tends to do just that in the final third (have some sort of ham-handed social message, that is… not necessarily a pro-gay one). I certainly don’t recall anyone implying that the movie wouldn’t be filled with crass, juvenile, low-brow humour… it’s an Adam Sandler movie, remember?

    To that end, from Reelviews: “Perhaps concerned that the overload of gay jokes might offend some audience members, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry turns into a full defense of gay rights and an applause of gay culture, including appearances by Lance Bass and Richard Chamberlain. It’s a shock to the system when this example of puerile comedy turns into a pulpit-pounding sermon. The film’s sledgehammer approach makes it more immature than earnest.”

    In fact, it sounds almost exactly like what I predicted it would be. No, it’s not going to convert all homophobes into tolerant people. It almost definitely won’t convert any tolerant people into homophobes (“Wait, firefighters would act like bigoted idiots if they thought they were showering with two gay guys? That’s it, I’m joining the Focus on the Family mailing list!”). I somehow doubt it’s really going to have any effect on the world at all.

    And either way, I’ll stand by my point that a two minute trailer is not a sufficient reference for judging the tone, thematic content, or “meaning” of a 90-minute movie.

  6. Fritz

    Transexual jokes: 1 (judging by the trailer — could be more)

  7. Open question for Shakers: if this same movie were made by a gay comedian, then under the rules of ‘you can make fun of your own,’ would your opinion of the movie change?

    Probably, but it would be a completely different movie, too. I’d be willing to bet that the movie you describe wouldn’t have Rob Schneider bouncing his index fingers tip-to-tip with a confused look on his face. In fact, I’d be willing to bet Rob Schneider wouldn’t even be allowed in a theater where that movie was playing, for fear he would infect it.

  8. Arkades

    I’m still torn over whether to see this. My husband and I both adore Kevin James, but the trailers and marketing seem almost toxic. Also not bolstering my confidence is that the current aggregate review rating according to Rotten Tomatoes is 13%. That’s firmly in the rotten column.

    Nightshift66: “We see insults to the LGBT community, while at least one reviewer (and I’ll bet more than that) sees the movie as pro-LGBT.

    Some of the reviews appear to take the film to task for trying to have things both ways: have a lot of laughs at gays’ expense, but then turn around and have a One To Grow On moment toward the end where everyone learns to wuv teh gayz after all.

    Nightshift66: “if this same movie were made by a gay comedian, then under the rules of ‘you can make fun of your own,’ would your opinion of the movie change?”

    It depends less on who made it versus how well they pulled it off… I have a feeling the same storyline could be a very entertaining comedy if handled with subtlety and deftness. Some writers and directors could pull it off, and others cannot. I would not necessarily give a gay director more leeway if I still thought the finished result were a trainwreck, especially since I would expect him or her to know better.

    Having not seen the film, I do not know what direction its creators chose to take the plot, but the reviewers seem to think the film’s message was largely Aesoped onto the ending, which to me doesn’t speak well of the characters’ “journey” along the way.

    To me, perhaps the funniest possible development would be if the two straight ‘partners’ discovered that playing at their simulated romance isn’t anywhere near as icky and dreadful as they imagined it would be, and find themselves wondering what implications that revelation might have for their self-images as Totally Straight Doodz. Just the possibility entering their minds could be consciousness-transforming.

    At least, that’s how *I* would have directed a story like this.

  9. Arkades

    Yargh. I hate when I forget to turn off italics and shit like that.

    The quote from NightShift ends with the quotation mark (imagine that), and the rest of the stuff from there to the end are my own thoughts, which should not have been in italics, but I mistagged it. Ah well.

  10. Arkades

    (reposting…)

    It depends less on who made it versus how well they pulled it off… I have a feeling the same storyline could be a very entertaining comedy if handled with subtlety and deftness. Some writers and directors could pull it off, and others cannot. I would not necessarily give a gay director more leeway if I still thought the finished result were a trainwreck, especially since I would expect him or her to know better.

    Having not seen the film, I do not know what direction its creators chose to take the plot, but the reviewers seem to think the film’s message was largely Aesoped onto the ending, which to me doesn’t speak well of the characters’ “journey” along the way.

    To me, perhaps the funniest possible development would be if the two straight ‘partners’ discovered that playing at their simulated romance isn’t anywhere near as icky and dreadful as they imagined it would be, and find themselves wondering what implications that revelation might have for their self-images as Totally Straight Doodz. Just the possibility entering their minds could be consciousness-transforming.

    At least, that’s how *I* would have directed a story like this.

  11. Fritz

    Open question for Shakers: if this same movie were made by a gay comedian, then under the rules of ‘you can make fun of your own,’ would your opinion of the movie change?

    It depends on what you mean by making fun of your own.

    The self-deprecating humor that you see in the acts of some gay comedians is in my opinion harmful to gay and lesbian people.

    Also, there is a certain amount of misogyny involved in calling a gay man a “big girl” or a “drama queen” etc.

    Portraying gay men as shallow and vain — as they did for many years on Will and Grace — promotes harmful stereotypes.

    We’ve got a long way to go in presenting gay characters as positive role models and even just regular folks.

  12. Come on, we’re talking about two of the most toxicly unfunny people* in existence, backed up with Rob Schneider doing a Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s impersonation.

    If you really, really needed to hear from your local LGBT organization before deciding NOT to see this pile of elephant discharge, then you’ve got problems.

    * at least until Jimmy Fallon re-surfaces.

  13. my biggest problem with this one is the main premise. i simply am not able to wrap my mind around the perceived benefits of being publicly gay in today’s society. is there a scene where the other firefighters spraypaint “buttranger” all over their car? (that happened in tucson) is there a scene where their “good christian” neighbors force their children to shun the guy’s kids? is there a scene where there is an incident of random violence on the street?

    with those kinds of things and far, far more being likely reactions to “coming out” in today’s world i simply can’t begin to fathom an economic benefit that would be worth the risk.

  14. Zack

    Open question for Shakers: if this same movie were made by a gay comedian, then under the rules of ‘you can make fun of your own,’ would your opinion of the movie change?

    Unless the gay comedian was actually funny, no, my opinion (“Look, another predictable farce that retreads sitcom material and wastes the talent of all involved”) would not change.

    I will say I’ve seen some of the greatest offenses against humor commited by gay comedians who’s primary reason for existed seemed to be, “I’m gay! Love me and laugh. But mostly love me.”

  15. eastsidekate

    minstrel boy: my biggest problem with this one is the main premise.

    Amen. It reinforces the idea that being gay can be a frivolous and fun choice. Being gay just is, and when you have to live in this society, it’s hardly profitable.

    I can’t see a gay director starting with that premise. Or, the impression the trailer gives that everything about a gay person’s life revolves around being gay. And the soap in the shower– maybe not so much– I’d at least expect some hard-core satire if they went there.

  16. If the previews hadn’t already persuaded me to stay home, the Rotten Tomatoes reviews referenced above would do it. A sample:

    Chuck & Larry wants it both ways, indulging in ass obsession and the lamest queer stereotypes since Franklin Pangborn was in short pants, then hoisting the rainbow flag at half-mast in a panicky cry for tolerance.

    It’s kind of like “Tootsie,” only without the drag. Or the class. Or the laughs.

    I sure hope Sandler’s next movie is about learning the pain of Asian folks…that’d be hilarious!

    and…

    could be lightly described as flippin’ horrendous

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  18. everstar

    If I thought there would be an ounce of wit, grace, or charm in this movie, I might be inclined to give it a pass. But everything I know about Adam Sandler convinces me he puts the vile in juvenile. I don’t expect there to be any empathy or understanding, just the “Ewwww, do you know what gay men DO with each other?” approach. And that really depresses me.

  19. if this same movie were made by a gay comedian, then under the rules of ‘you can make fun of your own,’ would your opinion of the movie change?

    Take a look at this post that PortlyDyke did a month or so ago.

    My apologies to PD if I’m stealing her thunder…

  20. nightshift66

    I’d like to clarify that I was more curious about the limits of the ‘you can make fun of your own’ rule in general than anything else. I remember Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy ripping on their communities pretty hard, and as noted, some gay humorists play to stereotypes for laughs. I wasn’t going to watch the movie anyway; as I said, Sandler’s humor doesn’t appeal to me in general.

  21. Todd

    A couple things. First, I will sheepishly admit that I’ve enjoyed a few Adam Sandler movies in the past and particularly thought he was great in Punch Drunk Love. Yes, I’ve laughed at a few of the stupid ones too (I thought the Wedding Singer was pretty good too). This has nothing to do with him or the quality of his movies.

    And yes, if a gay comedian did exactly the same material I would hate it. Even moreso, actually because they should know better. I have hated plenty of stuff by & for gays for its pandering stupidity (like Will & Grace).

    Finally, I’ll repeat what I said before about the movie & trailer:

    You can determine that a movie is offensive just by the trailer, because what’s in the trailer will be in the movie. It doesn’t matter what else is stuffed into the movie to look “PC.” If all the characters decide to be loving and tolerant and accepting of gays and have a big gay orgy at the end, it still doesn’t matter if, through the rest of the film, they made fun of and belittled the gay lifestyle and gay relationships. From the looks of all the trailers I’ve seen, its target audience is people who think gays are gross, weird, scary, or funny, not sophisticated gay or gay-friendly audiences.

    If a few homophobes are “converted” after seeing it, great, but I won’t hold my breath. For the rest of the audience it will just reinforce stereoptypes they already had in their heads which is what will generate the laughs.

  22. Brynn

    my biggest problem with this one is the main premise. i simply am not able to wrap my mind around the perceived benefits of being publicly gay in today’s society.

    Thank you!! (Took the words right out of my mouth.)

  23. Regina

    I’d like to clarify that I was more curious about the limits of the ‘you can make fun of your own’ rule in general than anything else. I remember Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy ripping on their communities pretty hard,

    Your examples are/were rare talents, though.

    Seriously, Richard Pryor made me laugh at his own recounting of lighting himself on fire while freebasing. Nothing should be funny about that, and yet, it worked. And I wasn’t laughing at him, I was laughing with him… which also shouldn’t have been possible. That man possessed a rare talent for finding the funny in things that should not ever have been funny, which was augmented by perfect timing and a really strong grasp of physical comedy.

    For me, the limits of the rule are found at the line between funny and un-funny. Really great comedians can find that line and dance on it, but most sway back and forth across that line in a pretty uncontrolled way, and figure that their successes make up for their mistakes. But they’re often wrong, and what they usually end up with is a gamish of confusing and sometimes offensive tripe that could have been funny if they’d had more talent or control.

    Part of being able to make fun of your own is actually having an inside track to what is actually funny about your own.

  24. if this same movie were made by a gay comedian, then under the rules of ‘you can make fun of your own,’ would your opinion of the movie change?

    No, for many of the reasons cited above (the premise is stupid/dangerous, and the movie’s not funny), but particularly for this reason:

    There is a vast difference, imo, between invoking a stereotype in order to illuminate its fallacy, or to bring audiences to a point of examination about the stereotype, and invoking a stereotype simply for the purpose of ridicule and/or in a way that actually reinforces the validity of the stereotype.

    To my mind, comedians (of any race, orientation, etc.) who capitalize on social themes just to “sell a movie” or “get a laugh”, are just that — capitalists, not activists. I have no judgment about them being capitalists, but please don’t dress it up as something that it’s not.

    There is an interesting aspect to this premise that I haven’t seen discussed much yet — in this film, as in Tootsie, people of privilege try to cash in on the “special rights” being afforded to minorities/women — yet the characters who are doing so are never portrayed as negative, really. There is an underlying sympathy for them (Oh poor Dustin, he can’t get work in the theater. Oh poor Kevin, he can’t get a pension for his children). So they pose as “oppressed” people to capitalize on the “special rights” these people have received. THAT is the most dangerous meme in this premise, to me — it reinforces the idea that minorities and women are receiving special treatment — and turns the down-side of being part of an oppressed class into “Yuk-yuk isn’t that funny! Isn’t that cute!”

  25. amish451

    “…if this same movie were made by a gay comedian …?”

    Then it would not be Sandler, would it ..I doubt the premise would be funny even then ….face it, someone sold a plot as humor, it is not …..

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