I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Harry

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, directed by Dennis Dugan, starts on a false premise. Chuck Levine (played by Adam Sandler), who lost his wife two years earlier, is informed by a New York City bureaucrat (played by Rachel Dratch) that he cannot list his two children as beneficiaries on his NY Fire Department pension. Really? Were he to take on a domestic partner, the unmarried female bureaucrat informs him, he could be assured that that partner would look after his children in the event of his death; rather than getting a second opinion, he believes the absurd story from the bureaucrat, who even suggests her availability as Chuck’s second wife. Although Chuck is straight, he has no girlfriend; he maintains such a shrine of his deceased wife that he seems prepared never to marry again. However, bachelor Larry Valentine (played by Kevin James) is his very best friend and NYFD associate, so Chuck proposes that they become domestic partners, and Larry accepts. Ultimately, they marry in Canada, though they remain straight, loosely in the tradition of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (1968). The comedy then revolves around nonacceptance of gays within the Fire Department turning into acceptance, including Duncan (played by Ving Rhames), who comes out of the closet and even parades what he has in the communal shower. However, after the domestic partnership is filed, bureaucrat Clinton Fitzer (played by Steve Buscemi) is suspicious, investigates what he believes to be a scam, and ultimately there is a hearing on the matter. Incredulously, the hearing involves the New York City Council chamber, presided over by Councilperson Banks (played by Richard Chamberlain), and the farce continues with an unexpected twist that may bemuse audiences. MH

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