Two straight, single Brooklyn firefighters pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive domestic partner benefits.Two straight, single Brooklyn firefighters pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive domestic partner benefits.Two straight, single Brooklyn firefighters pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive domestic partner benefits.
It dismays me to hear people praising this film for its "sensitive handling" of the subject of homosexuality and the way it challenges bigoted thinking on the subject – such thoughts can be found in the comments section on this site and they dismay me because sadly to some viewers this film may be the nearest thing to "discussion" on homosexuality that they have had. In this way maybe one could make a case for this film being an effective but blunt tool for the mostly teenage male fan-base of Adam Sandler to be "reached" and "educated" by giving them what they want in terms of crude humour and broad stereotypes but then also leaving them with a message that will teach them the error of their ways. It would certainly be nice to say that but one cannot help feel that this is not the reality and that, rather than using the crude stereotypes as a vehicle to deliver a message to a traditionally homophobic fan-base, the film is actually using the message to facilitate lots of homosexual stereotypes, jokes and clichés.
This is what the film does throughout – it wants to have its cake and then also get to eat it. So, spoiler alert, it turns out that homosexuals are people too. Apparently (according to the film) it is NOT OK to treat them differently and exclude them from things and anyone who does, well, y'know what, ell, turns out those that are do are the real jerks. That is about as sophisticated as the message gets but that is perhaps to be expected and for the target audience maybe that is challenging enough. Unfortunately for the wider audience or casual viewer it will come off as little more than patronising and not make up for the fact that the majority of the film flies in the face of this. What the rest of the film does is draw laughs from the fact that two straight characters have to "be gay" – which of course means all the stereotypical stuff that we all know. So nobody wants to pick up the soap in the shower (because all a gay man needs to be aroused is the sight of someone's ass), disco music is played, finger-snapping is everywhere and so on. Fortunately it is sporadically amusing and provided me with a few chuckles whether I wanted to give them up or not. It is not THAT funny though and the casual viewer will mostly just let the brash, obvious humour wash over them without it doing much.
The cast buy into it well though and do their best to sell it. Sandler is his usual rather annoying self and does his best to prove he cannot act by being the usual "irresistible to women" thing rather than the "creepy man-child" that he would be were his character real. James comes off a lot better I'm not really seen him before although he probably does fit TV better than films but he does have a good comic presence and also does OK with coming over more of a regular guy. Loved Ving Rhames in it – sending up his tough guy image while Buscemi, Aykroyd and a few others are amusing in support. Biel has an amazing body and that is pretty much what she is asked to do – be in underwear and look stunning, both of which she effortlessly does but nothing else comes forward.
This film is not the awful piece of comedy that some critics have said but it is a simple, stereotypical comedy about homosexual clichés that tries to justify it by having a very basic message that most people should have already learnt in the 1990's. While some may praise the film for having this message I find it more concerning that people still see this message as somehow "worthy" rather than "d'uh – of course". Some laughs help it through and Sandler's fans will enjoy it despite the "message" but for the casual viewer it is just another clumsy and crude Adam Sandler film.
- bob the moo
- Jul 13, 2009