Weekend Forecast for July 20-22, 2007
By Reagen Sulewski
July 20, 2007
It's time for a brief mid-summer break from the tentpole releases at the multiplexes. No legions of fanboys are camping out at the theaters for a midnight release this week. At least, I hope they're not.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is Adam Sandler's latest, though it's not a typical Sandler vehicle, as he's not playing one of his typical man-child characters, and he's opposite a comedy lead who could arguably carry his own film. He and Kevin James play New York City firefighters who, in a scheme to protect James's pension for his kids, pretend to be gay and get married. While remaining straight. Totally straight No Brokeback stuff here, both their agents would like to remind you. Please God, Red Staters, know that they're straight.
Naturally, these two swinging lotharios don't fool too many people, and an investigator is sent over to determine how real this relationship is. That investigator, Jessica Biel, is obviously sent there to crack them. It's just like an episode of Three's Company writ large! The actual comedy seems quite generic, with awkward male bonding moments and sitcom humor, and the biggest thing the film might have going for it is Jessica Biel in a cat suit.
Sandler's comedy throne has been somewhat usurped lately by Will Ferrell, though in his broad comedies, he still packs a punch. Last summer's Click opened to $40 million and brought in $137 million total, which is pretty consistent with his average since Waterboy, nine years ago. Kevin James is untested as a sole lead, but played a similar second string to Will Smith in Hitch two years ago. Biel has been waiting for the film that pushes her into a mainstream lead instead of just a gossip site favorite, though she has few out and out flops that can be blamed on her (Next is all on Nicolas Cage).
The biggest question for the movie's appeal is just how much will the gay issue frighten off Sandler's core audience. My guess is at least a little, in a similar situation to how Blades of Glory fell short of Will Ferrell's standard opening weekend. A $32 million opening weekend seems in order here.
In a strange quirk of scheduling, the week's other big release is Hairspray, which if not exactly gay-themed, is certainly filled with camp, and of course is an adaptation of a musical that is in turn an adaptation of a John Waters movie.
An entry in the genre that is the lowest form of communication, the movie musical (via a translation from the stage, via an original movie, a la The Producers), Hairspray is set in 1960s Baltimore, an era of racial tension and TV dance shows. When a spot opens up on the hit Corny Collins Show, Tracy Turnblad (played by newcomer Nikki Blonsky) auditions, even though she's overweight and not "TV pretty". Landing a spot, she runs afoul of high society via the Von Tussle family (headed by Michelle Pfeiffer), especially since Turnblad tries to integrate the show racially.