Plot: What’s it about?
It’s hard to really pinpoint where Adam Sandler’s career has been or where it’s going. We all know he can make us laugh, but can he make us cry? I kind of doubt it. Sandler is primarily known as a comedic actor, though his turn in films like “Reign Over Me” and “Punch Drunk Love” show that he’s got the range to do something a little more serious. I wonder, do all comic actors think they owe it to themselves (or us) and try a few dramatic roles? Like Jim Carrey before him, Sandler has certainly tested the waters. However that’s sufficiently not the case with “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”, which takes every gay joke out there and tries to get a laugh out of it. On the surface, this film looks like it has all the right moves: screenplay by Alexander Payne (“Sideways” and “Election”), a good cast and how funny would it be to see Kevin James team up with Adam Sandler. As I said, this is on the surface.
We meet New York City firefighters Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James) who’s just saved Chuck’s life. Grief-stricken over the loss of his wife, Larry has totally forgotten to claim her insurance policy before the expiration date. So unless Chuck and Larry get married (or, uh, “domestic partners”) Larry and his children will wind up on the streets. Owing Larry his life, Chuck reluctantly agrees to “play gay” and logic would tell us that the laughs begin. They don’t. It seems that every stereotype is used here to get a laugh, even as government inspector Clinton Fitzer (Steve Buscemi) tries to expose the obvious fraud that’s happening. Naturally this paves the way for Larry to employ Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel) as their lawyer and, by the way, just happens to wear catwoman costumes to parties and looks like Jessica Biel. I don’t think I need to spell out much more as to how this thing ends, but suffice it to say that if you’re easily offended, you might want to skip this one.
Video: How does it look?
This is actually the second time this film has appeared in a HD format, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” was part of Universal’s HD-DVD lineup before the format expired. This Blu-ray version sports a fairly good-looking 1.85:1 VC-1 HD transfer with great contrast, strong colors and a general, overall sharpness that makes the movie look great. I find it hard to really point out any major flaws in the transfer as the print looks pristine, there are no signs of artifacting and I noticed the slightest bit of edge enhancement (which was also an issue on the HD-DVD version). Still, it’s a nice-looking image and viewers won’t be disappointed.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack from the HD-DVD has been replaced by a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack and I was surprised at how good this really sounded. Granted, comedies don’t really offer much in terms of sound but this one actually does. The opening scene really starts things off with a band and for some reason, fire just sounds amazing in HD audio. Dialogue is clear and concise and though the surrounds don’t get much of a chance to shine, a few times they really do. While this isn’t the best example of surround sound, you could do a lot worse.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Surprisingly, Universal has removed some of the featurettes that were found on the HD-DVD version of the film. Still included, though, are the two audio commentaries both featuring director Dennis Dugan. The first has Sandler and James as they offer their comments on the film, the production as a whole and the general message. Dugan isn’t nearly as talkative in this track as he has his own to pretty much say whatever he wants. The U-Control feature with the “Friendship Test” is still intact, not sure if that’s a good thing or not. The deleted scenes and featurettes found on the HD-DVD are gone and if they aren’t, I wasn’t able to find them.