I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Rated 2.0

Two heterosexual Brooklyn firefighters—a widowed father (Kevin James) and a womanizing bachelor (Adam Sandler)—pose as a gay couple in order to get domestic-partner benefits. Surprisingly, among the credited writers are Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor (Sideways, Election); perhaps their work was diluted and coarsened by Lew Gallo, Barry Fanaro and director Dennis Dugan. The result seems aimed at both the high and low ends of the audience, going from offensive fag jokes to high-hat speeches from a gay-rights rally, with clumsy lunkhead slapstick throughout. James is earnestly sympathetic and there are a handful of laughs, but director Dugan lacks the finesse to make the homophobic stuff palatable or the slapstick consistently funny—or to make the tolerance lectures sound anything but preachy.