Men who work together in the line of duty often form very close, indelible friendships unlike any other…these are men who have lived and worked side-by-side, faced untold dangers and possibly saved each other’s lives, they know they can trust each other without reservation and that the other will always be there for them. But…just how far does that relationship go?
Larry Valentine (Kevin James) is having a hard time with his insurance; his wife died a while back and he wants to change the beneficiaries to his children, but since the kids are minors there have been some major road blocks. Larry could get remarried, sure, except that he’s still madly in love with his deceased wife and can’t even look at other women. As he’s reading through the rules regarding his insurance he zooms in on the inclusion of homosexual partners amongst possible beneficiaries.
A solution! Larry convinces his longtime friend and partner (in his job as a firefighter) Chuck (Adam Sandler) to pose as his significant other and puts him down as his beneficiary with the arrangement that Chuck will care for his kids should something happen to him. What they didn’t know is that the scheme had been cooked up before so the agency is a little leery of anyone claiming a same-sex partnership and immediately send someone to investigate…which earns them a “human bloodhound” (Steve Buscemi) on their trail.
As soon as word gets out about Chuck and Larry’s relationship (legitimized in Canada) everything changes overnight…people they thought were their friends suddenly want nothing to do with them and say nasty things about them behind their backs, they find new friends who are constantly being harassed by passers-by and condescending preachers…in other words, they find out exactly how the “other half” lives.
I’ve heard a lot of differing opinions on this movie as no one seems to be able to agree on whether it’s pro-gay, anti-gay, or just plain stupid. Personally, I don’t much care which one it is, I liked it and think the movie is entertaining and just maybe it’s intended to be a comedy rather than a political statement.
That said, I think the movie does do an excellent job of showing what so many gays and lesbians have had to deal with from the public at large…some things may be a little exaggerated in this movie but for the most part I found them to be fairly accurate to some of the nasty things that have been done or said to friends of mine. Overall, in case anyone is interested, I do consider this movie to offer a pretty accurate and compassionate view of the gay community if you can put aside the severe stereotypes seen in the movie.
However, if you’re like me you don’t care a whole lot what the message of the movie is because comedies aren’t necessarily supposed to have a message and the mere fact that it’s in question whether it was saying good or bad things says that it’s neutral enough to hopefully not offend too many people. The important part in a comedy is that it is funny and this one definitely gave me a lot more laughs than I’d expected.
Lately it seems like Sandler has been trying to do a lot more serious movies (though still within the comedy genre) than the ridiculous roles he was known for earlier in his career and I have to say I enjoy this slightly more serious Sandler a lot more as those earlier movies generally annoyed me more than anything else. He did an excellent job in this movie as Chuck even though there were some scenes that just seemed a little too formulaic, though that could have been intentional. This movie really does have an impressive cast, aside from the main characters we see Dan Aykroyd, Jessica Biel (yes, she did a good job in this one!), Ving Rhames, the ever-impressive and entertaining Steve Buscemi amongst others.
Overall this struck me as a very entertaining film with few flaws (though it did have some) that I did enjoy quite a lot…and this from someone who is so tired of being force-fed comedies that it takes a LOT to impress me. Whether you will enjoy it or not does hinge a lot on whether you can appreciate the gay humor for what it is…humor. Many people get offended at the content and if you are one who is easily offended you may not enjoy this one.