I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Dear Dennis Dugan:
Long time fan here.
Really! I know you're not exactly a household name, but I've been following you since you played the lead in the sadly
short-lived Rockford Files spin-off Richie Brockelman: Private Eye. (By the way, what are the chances they're going to
release that forgotten gem on DVD? It seems like every other series is coming out.
Ask around and get back to me...)
I've been thinking – maybe you should consider making a big comeback as
After all you won an Emmy
for your clever masked avenger character on Hill Street Blues.
You also shook up the already loose Rockford. Hell, as a kid I even
enjoyed Unidentified Flying Oddball, your space-age comic rip on "A
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." You also had nice
supporting roles in an eccentric series of 70s movies including Harry and
Walter Go To New York and Norman, Is That You?
Recently, I watched – for
the first time in about two decades – your first appearance on Rockford
Files in the special two-part episode which introduced Richie. You
were light on your feet, funny, hitting on all cylinders. I think you
need to get back to that place.
Now, I know what you're
thinking. Why go back to light television acting? In the last
twenty or so years you have been toiling to create a lucrative career as a
movie director. And, yes, you have gotten to the point where you get
gigs regularly and have worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
But it's just not working,
As a director, you have
been responsible for some of the lamest, weakest comedies to ever shame the
multiplexes. Hell, let's not even limit it to comedies (because, let's
face it, most of them are not at all funny). You have made some of the
lamest, weakest films ever.
are not even "good"
bad like an old Ed Wood movie. Your problem is not
ineptitude per se, you have the basic skills down. Your movies
are just tired and tiring.
Let's take a quick look at
your body of work. It started with the gawd-awful John Ritter comedy
Problem Child. That was enough to kill most nascent careers,
but you have followed it up with the chuckle-free likes of Saving
Silverman, Beverly Hills Ninja, National Security and The
Benchwarmers. And apparently you have
become Adam Sandler's go-to director – which should give you an idea of
where you are in the Hollywood pecking order. You have brought out the
worst in the terminally unfunny Sandler in Happy Gilmore and Big
Your latest collaboration
with Sandler, I Now
Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, proudly lives down to your worst comic
I Now Pronounce You
Chuck and Larry is a movie which
claims to try to be championing gay rights, and yet it spends a good 90% of
the running time trading in offensive stereotypes and ignorance.
That's not to say the film is homophobic, though – it is also actively
offensive to New Yorkers, African Americans, Asians, Canadians, firemen,
doctors, lawyers, cab drivers, the homeless, postal workers, women with boob
jobs, religious fundamentalists, men, women, children and any other group it
fixes its lecherous gaze upon.
Now, it's true, you didn't
write the film – we can't blame all that on you. And yet these things
seem to keep popping up in your oeuvre – it can't all be a
coincidence. Also, offensive and tasteless can still be done in
interesting ways to make it funny. However despite the quote-unquote
"edginess" of the humor, it is mostly weak and toothless. Like the
time when the Asian justice of the peace (played by that noted Asian actor
Rob Schneider) says that an eyewitness will cost them "100 doll-airs," and
Sandler lets loose with a lame stream of consciousness bullying monologue in which he
asks him how much "doll hair" could they possibly get.
By now we know that
Sandler's career is completely beyond redemption, but the sad and horrifying
thing is how many actually talented people he drags down to his level.
Kevin James looked like he may have had a movie career to keep an eye on
after nine years in The King of Queens and a terrific film debut in
Hitch. No more, if this movie doesn't kill his career, I'll be
It takes a real special
gift to make Jessica Biel in a bra and panties seem kind of dull, but you
almost pull it off. Eventually Biel's force of personality (not to
mention her impressive body tone) does make it intriguing – despite the
horribly clichéd setup of a straight woman feeling free to strip down in
front of a man she thinks is gay. Sorry man... doesn't happen.
Others who are dragged down
include Steve Buscemi (who granted, though a brilliant actor is more than
willing to sell out for a payday to fund his more risky projects), Ving
Rhames, Dan Aykroyd (who is stiffer than he was when he was trying to sell
us a bass-o-matic) and Richard Chamberlain (who is only here, really,
because he finally came out of the closet a couple of years ago.).
This waste of talent is not
only before the camera. Amazingly, the script was co-written by the
extremely talented and sophisticated Alexander Payne (About Schmidt,
Sideways). I find it hard to believe that more than a comma in the
clunky final script came out of Payne's imagination.
Now, admit it, Dennis. I know you miss the
life in front of the camera, because you do a little cameo in Chuck and
Larry as a homophobic Canadian cab-driver. The scene is lame, and
frankly you look a bit scruffy and a little bit worse for wear (though I
like to think that was just a little method acting on your part.).
However, for the short, silly time you were on the screen, you sold it.
You said "queers" with conviction! We need that talent back
where it belongs – on the other side of the camera, with someone else
calling the shots.
I'm sorry if this all seems
harsh to you, but your career really needs an intervention. Please bring back Richie
Brockelman. Leave Chuck and Larry far in our rear-view mirrors.
A concerned fan
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: November 6, 2007.