I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - Homophobia and Comedy
| Imagine a film where Adam Sandler pretends to be Indian and the audience laughs at how awful and awkward it is for him to have to speak Hindi.
Now imagine a film where Kevin James pretends to be Jewish and the audience laughs at how awful and awkward it is for him to have to eat kosher.
Would either of these films be made today? Maybe. White Chicks did get made but did anyone pay to see it? No. Why? Political correctness? Not really. Itís just that audiences donít find this sort of thing funny. Audiences know that there is nothing funny about eating kosher or speaking another language. We are beyond that. Is our society beyond thinking that itís funny to see two men kiss?
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry has at its very heart the joke that men being Gay is a funny, laughable thing. The film makers and others are going to say this is a tribute to tolerance. The film shows how hard gays have it. Bullshit! Where else does the humour come from if not from how uncomfortable it is for two men to be together? Some may say the humour comes from people pretending to be what they are not. This is bullshit too. Would it be funny to watch a man pretend to eat kosher if he wasnít Jewish? If not why is it funny to have to watch a straight man kiss another man? Because there is something uncomfortable with the idea of men kissing. For this humour in this film to work, the audience must be homophobic. There is no other explanation.
This is an offensive and disturbing joke.
Yes we all know that Adam Sandler is a Republican and I am happy to support his right to promote his conservative views. I just wish he didnít hide his commentary behind a supposed comedy. Itís this kind of subversive message that indoctrinates intolerance and normalizes heterosexist values. Yes, itís okay to laugh at the Gays, this film is saying. At least Michael Moore wears his political bias on his sleeve.
Sure the film will have a message at the end that ďthereís nothing wrong with that.Ē Does it make it okay to poke fun at someone for 2 hours and then say, ďoh, donít take it so seriously, I was just joshing.Ē
This is a film where the leads canít bring themselves to kiss each other during the wedding ceremony so they slap each other instead. Why is that funny? This is a film where the characters say things like ďI like men, the way they smellÖĒ Why is that funny? This is a film where a character pretends to be grossed out by touching a womanís breasts. Come on! This is a film where the lead woman starts off a question to the supposedly Gay man, "woman to woman." Is he gay or transsexual? The film doesnít even seem to know the difference.
One test of prejudicial behavior is to reverse it. Would a film about two gay people pretending to be straight to get married be funny? Probably not that much. Would it be funny if the humour is derived from watching them kiss? Something tells me the audience wouldnít be laughing uproariously watching a man and a woman kiss.
Something tells me that audiences laughing at this film are indulging in a bit of their pent up homophobia and I ask you to think about that and consider in which ways your own discomfort is keeping the gay experience from being treated as equal with the straight experience.
There is a tradition in literature and cinema of marginalizing groups by subjecting them to ridicule through humour. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is within that tradition. I just choose not to be.