I remembered that I loved this movie and was rewatching it and was a little taken aback by some of the things I forgot that apparently weren’t outwardly terrible yet in 2007. It’s insane how much the cultural tide has changed in so little time!! A positive for us and a negative for romcoms from the early-2000’s! But there so much good here you would be remiss to write it off in my opinion.
To be clear though, Adam Sandler casually says faggot a lot in the first parts of the movie and there’s a lot that’s offensive to gay people/anyone/also Rob Schneider does his best Mickey Rooney impression in yellow face as an Asian wedding officiant in Las Vegas which is…just terrible.
But there’s so much that’s genuinely funny and it somehow in this round about way gets to a good point at the heart of it! Like most people!
If you’re somehow unfamiliar—I feel very bad for you because this movie is really good to me and oddly canonical,—but basically Adam Sandler and Kevin James (who can do no wrong in my eyes! Both of them!) are New York firefighters. Kevin James’ wife died of something like 4 years ago and he’s worried about being injured on the job and not being able to provide for his children, Tory and Eric.
He has recently saved Adam Sandler’s life and Sandler has promised him a favor that’s for anything he wants. The next logical step of course is for them to file a partnership with the fire department so they can both receive pension benefits from the city if one of them gets hurt so the kids are protected.
Adam Sandler (Chuck) is unsurprisingly not on board at first, because he (as he often is characterized in his own movies) is a ladies man. In this movie that means he is “Mr. February,” a pinup in the city’s firefighter calendar. But then Larry (Kevin) reminds him of his promise and says it’ll just mean getting his mail forwarded to his place for a while and he agrees.
But ACTUALLY it’s not that simple, and the government doesn’t just let people do that. So they get assigned a lawyer who SURPRISE is very hot (Jessica Biel) who’s going to help them fight the government (Steve Buscemi) and prove their love is real.
A lot of hi-jinx (the internet is very divided on how to spell that word) ensue: Chuck and Larry go to a gay ball where a butterflied Nick Swardson keeps screaming things that are absolutely a caricature of gay people but also very funny, Chuck gets approached by a very menacing Ving Rhames who until this point has been feared but comes out to Chuck and tells him he inspired him to live his truth, Larry’s gay son Eric auditions for Pippin and gets in a fight where he tap dances his way to victory, there’s an especially revealing career day where the term ” butt pirate” is used, etc.
Throughout all of this, Chuck is falling in love with Jessica Biel and they are spending ‘girl time’ together (one of the offensive parts of this is it constantly frames gay relationships through a heteronormative lens, continually referencing who is the “woman”) and it comes to a head when he feels her up and they make out. Jessica Biel is upset and throws him out.
Meanwhile, at their firehouse, once the relationship comes out all the other members of the house sign a petition asking the chief to transfer Chuck and Larry. This is met by a good speech from Larry where he goes through all the names and gives examples of times he & Chuck have helped different members throughout the years and how “gay” it was: “When Chuck dragged your limp body out of the third story of a collapsing building even though his leg was broken in three places, that was pretty gay of him.” I liked this part a lot because what this movie gets wrong (a lot) is to me outweighed by what it gets right, which is that sexuality isn’t the determining quality of any person and also love and relationships can be deep and protected and not be sexual and men can have deep love for each other within their friendships and also sexuality is fluid and most people aren’t 100% one thing and all of that’s ok!!! Also being gay isn’t weird and doesn’t change your friend and you can have friendships with gay men as a straight man and it’s cool and good.
This movie is also so funny, I don’t think I can stress enough how funny a lot of it is to me, I think I just really love Adam Sandler and Kevin James so much. A running joke in this is that Adam Sandler does the voice of Kevin James’ dead wife when they’re in bed like, “Larry, you betrayed meeee” when he’s falling asleep and it’s very funny to me. Idk what to tell ya!!!
In the end, the fire chief (Dan Aykroyd) outs them in their hearing as not gay, and they all get arrested and go to jail (all the firemen have a change of heart!), but then the gay community saves them. Ving Rhames marries Jessica Biel’s brother (Nick Swardson) and everyone’s at the wedding and Adam Sandler and Jessica Biel dance and Larry seems to find a woman to talk to that isn’t the ghost of his dead wife and everyone is happily ever after-ing.
Basically this movie is great and I like it so much and it both holds up and doesn’t hold up. There’s a lot of interesting critical gender theory to be employed here and I’m certain that’s what Adam Sandler had in mind when he made it, just like all his movies.
4/5 Apple costume dick flaps, would masturbate again.