I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dennis Dugan
Produced by
Written by
Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by Jeff Gourson
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • July 12, 2007 (2007-07-12) (Universal City premiere)
  • July 20, 2007 (2007-07-20)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $85 million[2]
Box office $186.1 million[2]

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry is a 2007 American comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan. It stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James as the title characters Chuck and Larry, respectively. The film was released in the United States on July 20, 2007.


Chuck Levine, a womanizing bachelor, and Larry Valentine, a widower struggling to raise his two children, are two veteran New York City firefighters. During a routine sweep of a burned building, a segment of floor collapses on Chuck, but Larry saves his life. Chuck vows to repay Larry in any way possible. Experiencing an epiphany from the incident, Larry tries to increase his life insurance policy, but he runs into difficulties naming his children as primary beneficiaries. He is told he should remarry so his new spouse can be the primary beneficiary; however, no one specifies who he has to marry.

Inspired by a newspaper article about domestic partnerships, Larry asks Chuck to enter a civil union with him. Although Chuck declines at first, he is reminded of his debt to Larry and finally agrees, entering a domestic partnership and becoming Larry's primary beneficiary in the event of his death. To their dismay, however, investigators arrive to inquire about their abrupt partnership, suspecting fraud. Chuck and Larry decide to enlist the help of lawyer Alex McDonough, who suggests they get married and move in together to prove they are committed; Chuck reluctantly agrees. The pair travel to Niagara Falls in Canada for a quick marriage at a wedding chapel and begin living together.

At a gay benefit costume party, the partygoers are confronted by homophobic protesters. Chuck is provoked into punching their leader, and the incident is picked up by the local news. With their apparent homosexuality and marriage revealed, Chuck and Larry are heckled, and their fellow FDNY firefighters refuse to work with them. Their only ally is Fred G. Duncan, an angry, intimidating firefighter who comes out to Chuck.

Chuck becomes romantically interested in Alex after the two spend time together, but finds himself unable to get close to her because she thinks he is gay. In another meeting at her apartment, Chuck and Alex are making charm bracelets. They soon kiss, but Alex, still believing Chuck is gay and married, is shocked and immediately distances herself from Chuck. Meanwhile, city agent Clinton Fitzer arrives to investigate the couple, and the strain on both Larry and Chuck causes them to fight. Larry learns about the kiss and confronts Chuck about it, asserting that Chuck's absence is jeopardizing their ability to maintain the ruse of their relationship. During the argument, Larry reveals that he is still in love with his deceased wife, Paula, and Chuck responds that he needs to move on for the sake of his children. Later that evening, a petition circulates to have Chuck and Larry thrown out of the firehouse. Upon discovering it, a hurtful Larry confronts the crew about personal embarrassments on the job that Chuck and Larry helped them overcome. Afterwards, Chuck and Larry reconcile their differences.

Eventually, numerous women publicly testify to having slept with Chuck in the recent past, and the couple is called into court to defend their marriage against charges of fraud. They are defended by Alex, and their fellow firefighters arrive in support, having realized all that Chuck and Larry have done for them over the years. Fitzer interrogates both men, and eventually demands the pair to kiss to prove that their relationship is physical. Before they do so, Chuck and Larry are interrupted by FDNY Captain Phineas J. Tucker, who reveals their marriage to be a sham and that they are both straight. He then offers to be arrested as well, since he knew about the false relationship but failed to report it. This prompts each of the other firefighters to claim a role in the wedding in a show of solidarity. Chuck, Larry, and the other firefighters are sent to jail, but they are quickly released after negotiating a deal to provide photos for an AIDS research benefit calendar, and Chuck and Larry keep their benefits.

Two months later, Duncan and Alex's brother, Kevin, are married in Niagara Falls at the same chapel as Chuck and Larry. At the wedding party, Larry moves on from the death of his wife and talks to a new woman, while Alex agrees to a dance with Chuck.



Producer Tom Shadyac had planned this film as early as 1999. I Now Pronounce You Joe and Benny, as the film was then titled, was announced as starring Nicolas Cage and Will Smith with Shadyac directing. In the official trailer, the song "Grace Kelly" by British pop star, Mika, was included.[4]


Critical response

On the film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 14% approval rating from 154 reviews; the consensus states: "Whether by way of inept comedy or tasteless stereotypes, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry falters on both levels."[5]

USA Today called it "a movie that gives marriage, homosexuality, friendship, firefighters, children and nearly everything else a bad name."[6] The Wall St Journal calls it "an insult to gays, straights, men, women, children, African-Americans, Asians, pastors, mailmen, insurance adjusters, firemen, doctors -- and fans of show music."[7]

The New York Post called it not an insult to homosexuality but to comedy itself.[8] The Miami Herald was slightly less critical, calling the film "funny in the juvenile, crass way we expect."[9]

Nathan Lee from the Village Voice wrote a positive review, praising the film for being "tremendously savvy in its stupid way" and "as eloquent as Brokeback Mountain, and even more radical."[10] Controversial critic Armond White championed the film as "a modern classic" for its "ultimate moral lesson—that sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with who Chuck and Larry are as people".[11]

Box office

Chuck & Larry grossed $34,233,750 and ranked #1 at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, higher than the other opening wide release that weekend, Hairspray, and the previous weekend's #1 film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.[12] By the end of its run, the film had grossed $120,059,556 domestically and $66,012,658 internationally for a worldwide total of $186,072,214.[2]


The film received eight Golden Raspberry Award nominations including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Adam Sandler), Worst Supporting Actor (both Kevin James and Rob Schneider), Worst Supporting Actress (Jessica Biel), Worst Director (Dennis Dugan), Worst Screenplay and Worst Screen Couple (Adam Sandler with either Kevin James or Jessica Biel), but failed to win any.

Response from social groups

The film was screened prior to release for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). GLAAD representative Damon Romine told Entertainment Weekly magazine: "The movie has some of the expected stereotypes, but in its own disarming way, it's a call for equality and respect".[13]


According to Alexander Payne, the writer of an initial draft of the film, Sandler took many liberties with his screenplay, "Sandler-izing" the film, in his own words. At some point, he did not want his name attached to the project.[14]

Critics have also said the character played by Rob Schneider is a racist caricature and he was also criticized for donning Yellowface.[15]

In November 2007, the producers of the Australian film Strange Bedfellows initiated legal action against Universal Studios for copyright violation.[16] The suit was withdrawn in April 2008 after the producers of Strange Bedfellows received an early draft of Chuck & Larry that predated their film, and they were satisfied that they had not been plagiarized.[17]

See also


  1. "I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK & LARRY (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2007-07-24. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  2. 1 2 3 "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  3. Evans, Bradford (18 July 2013). "Which Movie Has the Most 'SNL' Cast Members In It?". Splitsider. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  4. "I, Nicolas Cage, take thee, Will Smith". The Advocate. 1999-05-25. p. 22. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  5. "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  6. Puig, Claudia (2007-07-20). "'Chuck and Larry': It's a marriage of bad taste, bad gags". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  7. Kaufman, Joanne (2007-07-20). "'Hairspray' Is Campy Fun, but Travolta Is a Drag". Wall St Journal. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  8. Smith, Kyle (2007-07-20). "'laughless comedy isn't a gay time'". New York Post. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  9. "'Chuck & Larry'". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  10. "'Queer as Folk'". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  11. "'Bossom Budies'". New York Press. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  12. "Weekend Box Office Results for July 20-22, 2007". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. 2007-07-23. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  13. "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry". Entertainment Weekly. 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
  14. "A Peek at the Movie 'Chuck & Larry' Could Have Been". Vulture. July 20, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  15. afterelton.com Review of "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry"
  16. Filmmakers take on Hollywood over comedy 'copy' - Film - Entertainment
  17. "Strange fluke, not plagiarism - Film - Entertainment". Sydney Morning Herald. 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2011-03-25.

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