Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: Hairspray is Certified Fresh; Chuck And Larry is On The Rocks

How much cross-dressing and gay innuendo can one Friday handle?

by | July 19, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got straight firemen in a domestic partnership
(I
Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
, starring
Adam Sandler,
Kevin James,
and Jessica Biel),
and John Travolta in drag (Hairspray,
also starring
Michelle Pfeiffer
,
Queen Latifah
, and
Amanda Bynes
). What do the critics have to say?

On a good day, Adam
Sandler
is one of the funniest people on the planet. And with Punch-Drunk
Love
and Reign Over Me, he’s proven himself to be a capable dramatic
actor as well. Unfortunately, critics say his latest,
I
Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
, does not represent much of a creative
advance for New Hampshire’s favorite son. Sandler and
Kevin James
star as two Brooklyn firefighters who, in a bind, pretend to be a gay couple to
qualify for domestic partnership benefits. While the film’s moral is an
admirable one (homophobia isn’t kosher), critics say Chuck and Larry
tries to have it both ways by utilizing shopworn gay stereotypes for laughs
before arriving at a preachy message of tolerance. At 21 percent on the
Tomatometer, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry has the wedding bell
blues.



Jessica Biel in Catwoman 2: The Reckoning
Rowr!

With all the goodwill that
John Waters’
1988 cult classic has inspired, some may have wondered if world need another
movie version of
Hairspray
. The answer, say critics, is a resounding yes; in fact, most
are calling it one of the summer’s best and brightest offerings.
Nikki Blonsky
stars as Tracy, a good-natured teen whose ambition is to join the cast of a
local teen dance TV show; with the help of her mom Edna (John
Travolta
), she learns to love her stout self and the value of desegregation.
Critics say
Waters
‘ campy subversion may have been softened this time, but Hairspray
is still a ton of fun, featuring rousing musical numbers and sharp performances
from its all-star cast, which includes
Queen Latifah,
Michelle Pfeiffer,
Christopher Walken,
Amanda Bynes, and
James Marsden. At
93 percent on the Tomatometer, Hairspray is not only Certified Fresh,
it’s also one of the best-reviewed wide releases of the year. And it matches up
well with Waters’ original, at 94 percent.



"Stay tuned, kids: The Hackneyed Harold Show is up
next after these messages!"

Also opening this week in limited release:
Live-In Maid
, a
delicate Argentine class-conflict satire, is at 100 percent;
Your Mommy
Kills Animals
, an even-handed doc about animal rights activism featuring
interviews with
Katherine Heigl
, Moby,
and Jessica Biel, is
at 100 percent; Sunshine,
Danny Boyle’s sci-fi
tale about a crew hoping to revive the sun before it dies starring
Cillian Murphy, is
at 81 percent (check out our
interview with
Boyle here
);
Scrap Heaven
, an stylish examination of urban disaffection in Japan, is
at 60 percent; Cashback,
a tale of an art student who can see the world frozen in time, is at 41 percent;
and Goya’s Ghosts,
Milos Foreman’s
biopic of the great Spanish painter starring
Natalie Portman
and Javier Bardem,
is at 23 percent.



"Reignite the sun?  I was just trying to find
out where the Sly Stone concert was."

Recent Adam Sandler Movies:
————————————–
63% — Reign Over Me
(2007)
32% — Click (2006)
30% — The Longest
Yard
(2005)
53% — Spanglish
(2004)
44% — 50 First
Dates
(2004)