GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) continues to put itself out there for I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry, saying the film promotes tolerance more than any use of broad comedic strokes might unwittingly mock the real-life struggle for marriage rights. Given its subject matter (two firefighters pretend to be gay in order to collect domestic partner benefits), there’s little doubt that Chuck and Larry would have gays and lesbians involved in such struggles eyeing it suspiciously. One can see it in the comments to posts Towleroad has published on the movie already.
One commenter notes: “Let me see if I can get this straight (literally.) Gays can’t marry and are therefore not eligible for the thousands of federal benefits that come with marriage. But these straight guys are pretending to get ‘married’ in order to get our second-class citizen domestic-partner rights? The entire premise of this movie is offensive. And we’re supposed to be grateful that they throw in a few lines ‘promoting’ tolerance?Jesus, do they think we’re that stupid?”
Another, based on having seen the trailers, says: “[They] are filled with what the typical straight person will think is funny, primarily gay stereotyped humor. Despite the fact most gays in America still do not have the opportunity to enjoy domestic partner benefits is not funny, and hopefully this point will come up in the film, but I will be surprised if it does. Somebody else will have to tell me if it does though, because I can’t stand Adam Sandler and have no intention of seeing this drivel.”
Damon Romine, entertainment media director for GLAAD, has been coming to the film’s defense. In a statement to the Boston Herald published today, he agrees with the comments that the movie is punctuated with stereotypes, but says they are used to raise questions rather than offend: “Through this disarming type of comedy, there is this use of stereotypes and slurs, and it holds the mirror up for people to ask, ‘Where does this come from?’ At the end of the day, this is a comedy that actually stresses the importance of family and treating others with dignity and respect. The film actually does send a very strong message. I can’t imagine a studio movie being made five years ago that even dealt with marriage equality and discrimination.”
Another Towleroad commenter who claims to have worked on the film sides with GLAAD: “Ok, I’ve seen this movie (I worked on it) and I’ll tell you that everyone’s getting too up in arms about it. It’s a pretty harmless movie (too saccharine sweet and predictable for my taste) and the only offensive stereotype isn’t even of a gay guy (to me, at least.) It goes overboard with the ‘accept one another’ (I know it isn’t PC to say that, but really… it’s tremendously overboard with the sentiment) and you can pretty much predict how everything is going to unravel after the first 15 mins. However, not truly offensive (at least to this gay man.) I’m more curious to see how this will play in the Red states…”
Some have suggested that the movie’s premiere, scheduled for tomorrow night, was scheduled purposely to go up against the opening night of Los Angeles’ largest LGBT film festival, Outfest — a night on which many of the industry’s “gay Hollywood mafia” would be unavailable. Others wondered why, when gay-themed mainstream movies have in the past been made tentposts in the festival’s line-up, Universal has made no attempt to have anything to do with it.
Of course, as with any product that comes out of Hollywood, it’s difficult to please all the people all the time. Perhaps the best advice is to see it and judge for yourself. But this is the first film in a long time that I have noticed GLAAD putting such a preemptive stamp on. And since GLAAD and Universal have touted their efforts at working together on the film so publicly, this may well be seen as a test of how accurately the industry watchdog is living up to its name.
Gay advocacy groups pronounce Sandler’s ‘Chuck and Larry’ A-OK [boston herald]
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