Lawrence "Larry" Valentine (Kevin James) and Charles "Chuck" Levine (Adam Sandler) are veteran FDNY firefighters. Chuck is a sexual deviant while Larry is a single father trying to raise a "tomboy" daughter Tori and an effeminate son Eric (Cole Morgen). Larry, being distracted by his sadness and obsession over his wife's death, fails to change the primary beneficiary of his pension from his wife to his children within the deadline. His only option is to marry someone, but he finds no woman whom he thinks can be trusted with the charge of his children.
Larry, inspired by an article about same-sex domestic partnership rights, decides to marry Chuck, making him the beneficiary and caretaker of Larry's children. Chuck is reluctant but agrees on grounds that Larry saved his life. Doing this, they would literally become friends with benefits. On the advice of their attractive lawyer Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel), they are married in Niagara Falls at a homosexual wedding church run by Chinese Jews, given that since same-sex marriage in New York is not possible. Chuck then moves in with Larry and guides him toward becoming a more adept father.
After Chuck's first morning with Larry (in which Larry finds that Chuck has had sex with Larry's maid and has placed a large doll in Larry's bed, provoking sexual dreams), Larry finds Clinton Fitzer (Steve Buscemi), a specialist sent to investigate the legitimacy of their partnership, rummaging through Larry's garbage in search of supporting evidence. Fitzer soon leaves, having indicated that he doubts the partnership's truth value.
While shopping for more "gay stuff", Chuck runs into Alex, who invites Chuck and Larry to a gay costume party. At the party Chuck accidentally flirts with a man (played by David Spade) whom he mistakes for Alex. (A hot topic since the film's release is whether or not it was Spade's backside initially shown before Sandler approaches, and it is indeed Spade.) Chuck remains uncomfortable throughout the party. After the party ends, the participants are confronted by an anti-gay rights group (transparently based on Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas), whose leader Jim (Rob Corddry) insults homosexuals outright. Chuck then strikes him, provoking applause and the attention of a tabloid newspaper.
The next morning, Chuck and Larry are called to speak with their FDNY Captain Phineas Tucker (Dan Aykroyd), who warns them not to cause havoc. Chuck and Larry are soon shunned by the heterosexual firefighters, who fear that they are attempting to make erotic advances. Later, Chuck is confronted by Fred Duncan (Ving Rhames), an intimidating firefighter who is suspected to have been a murderer and who now confesses his homosexuality.
Chuck and Alex subsequently begin a sexual relationship, which is interrupted when Alex learns that many other women have been Chuck's sexual partners. Soon after soothing Alex, who is annoyed at Chuck for having failed to mention this, Chuck and Larry are summoned by Tucker, who reveals that the other firemen have been passing around a petition with the intent of having the two of them transferred to another division. He puts the two on separate shifts to alleviate the complaints of the others. Larry, indignant, reminds the others that he has saved their lives and lent money to several of them, causing them to be ashamed of their treatment of him.
Meanwhile, tabloids pick up on Chuck and Larry's case and their court case becomes a media spectacle. Inside the courthouse, Chuck and Larry see the other firefighters who apologize for their ill behavior and vow to support Chuck and Larry. During the court case, Chuck and Larry are badgered by Fitzer, who attempts to reveal that their partnership is a fraud by asking questions designed to reveal or imply flaws in their arguments. His coup de grace is interrupted by Captain Tucker, who admits that they are lying but tells the judges that their lie has helped everyone around them and hurt no one. Fitzer replies that the law has nevertheless been broken; in a Spartacus-inspired sequence, the firefighters all claim that they helped Chuck and Larry break the law and should also be jailed, hoping that the show of solidarity will discourage any attempts at punishment. This fails when the judge takes their statement literally.
Later, Councilman Banks (Richard Chamberlain) shows up and offers to free Chuck and Larry if they admit to a misdemeanor and raise funds for AIDS research. The fundraising scheme takes the form of a calendar featuring the firefighters and the Canadian wedding chaplain in erotic poses. Fred Duncan is then seen marrying Alex's brother Kevin. All the ceremonies take place in Canada. Singer Lance Bass, who is also homosexual, makes an appearance to play a song emphasizing the importance of freedom
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