Promising much, 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry' is totally lacking in originality, sharp wit or a meaningful plot that would make you care what happens next. On paper it seems to have all the ingredients for a great comedy, enlisting the services of some great comic actors, but something about this just doesn't click.

Best friends, and firemen in the same unit, Chuck (Sandler) and Larry (James) are poles apart in terms of the lifestyles they lead. Chuck is the ultimate player, romancing anything in a skirt, while Larry is a widowed father-of-two, whose life revolves around providing for and protecting his two young children Eric (Morgen) and Tori (Adamowsky).

A flaw in a pension scheme means that Larry finds himself in bother, realising that his money will not be awarded to his children, should he die in the line of duty. He needs to find a loophole in the system but only one seems to exist. He must remarry but, since he is still grieving for his wife, this concept seems alien to him... unless of course he was to marry his best friend, Chuck.

But something about their union seems fake, setting tongues wagging and resulting in investigator Clinton Fitzer (Buscemi) scrutinising their every move, in an attempt to catch them out. To counteract the suspicion 'the couple' decide to hire lawyer Alex McDonough (Biel) to defend them. And as their charade begins to spiral out of control, they soon become known as gay-rights ambassadors, challenging the opposition that their 'relationship' meets among their fire brigade buddies and the government.

While there are sparks of chemistry between Sandler and James on screen, '...Chuck and Larry' lacks pace, causing it to fizzle out quite early on. The gags don't come fast enough and the plot never has any sense of urgency as the inevitable slowly rolls around. Some of the biggest laughs come from characters on the periphery, like the wedding minister and the crazy homeless guy, leaving you in doubt as to the overall quality of the script. A waste of the combined talents that make up the cast-list here.

Linda McGee