The trailer presents a theme that made my heart sink with every viewing. The theme is that violence toward gay men, or men perceived as gay, is acceptable. Note that I am talking about the trailer. I have the advantage of not having seen the movie. I've only seen the synopsis of the film designed to get audiences into theaters. As Sandler and James hit and berated each other over near-intimate incidents, I sat stunned and people around me laughed hysterically.
Do these people really think violence is an appropriate response to intimacy between men? Should someone get hit for not fitting some unrealizable standard of masculinity?
I honestly don't know the answer to the former question and I want to think that my fellow movie-goers would never seriously be OK with violence against LGBT people. Yet, there we sat in the theater, with me feeling like an alien visitor and them rolling with laughter, as Larry punched Chuck in the face after the famous racially insensitively delivered "you may now kiss the husband" line.
The obvious answer to the latter question is, "um, no dumbass" (Answered in the voice of Red from That Seventies Show.).
That said, GLAAD is saying that the movie itself is carrying a message of tolerance to young homophobic males everywhere:
"The movie's ultimate offenses have more to do with bad writing and directing than with homophobia," wrote AfterElton.com's Alonso Duralde, author of 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men. "Red-staters of every stripe who wouldn't watch a Logo documentary on a bet might very well rush out to see this movie, based on the comic appeal of Sandler and co-star Kevin James alone…If these two guys' guys are able to see gay folks as just folks who deserve the same rights as everyone else, then just maybe the hordes of twenty-something straight boys who flock to Sandler's movies might be able to do the same."I've gotta ask, "Is the man who delivered juggernaut dramatic performances (chuckle, snort) in Spanglish, Reign Over Me, Click, and Punch-Drunk Love going to be an effective agent for promoting marriage equality?" I'm betting all the twenty-something homophobes flocking to Sandler's movies, hoping for a Hanukkah song, oh-so-funny shots to the groin, and the occasional breast sighting, will miss any message of tolerance, overt or subtle (Subtle? As if, this is an Adam Sandler film).
I can, however, believe that bad writing is present in an Adam Sandler movie. There's an admiration for Sandler that I just don't get. A GLAAD Media Director nearly gushes over Sandler in this interview. It's wonderful that Adam is supportive of a gay relative in a long-term relationship. But, isn't having PR that points to this relative an equivalent of a wealthy white suburbanite guiltily crying "I have many black friends"?
Why would we be eager to have Sandler as an ally? Is he the man to reach out to young male homophobes and court them to tolerance? Has anyone seen his movies? They're full of sexism, racial stereotypes, bad writing, and bad acting. Why would I, as a minority, want him acting as my emissary in any capacity? Let him go back to Saturday Night Live. He was sometimes funny in two-minute sketches on the news.
A trailer that promotes violence toward gay people for a movie delivering a message of tolerance is still a trailer that promotes violence toward gay people.
Homophobes aren't going to be tricked into being tolerant and I'm not here to suffer through a homophobic demographic's learning experience. Seriously, F#CK that SH!T. My orientation isn't here for a laugh or a learning experience. I'm also not here to style your house or hair, cook you a fabulous meal, or pick you out an outfit. Go embrace your stereotypes by yourself thanks.
An MST3K inspired poll: