“(The Wayans brothers) have a history of poking fun at pop culture and the world, but they dress it up in a really funny way so you almost forget you’re also exploring important themes.”
Rick Alvarez ^ Wayans Bros. Productions stooge
How funny is “White Chicks”? Let’s put it this way: Look up. That statement (by one of the producers) from its press kit is a hundred times funnier than anything in the film. Keenen Ivory Wayans has had two good ideas in the course of his career. The first was the Emmy winning comedy series “In Living Color.” The second was “Scary Movie”. Given that he’s been producing television and motion
pictures since the 80s, that leaves a lot of room for bad ideas and, to date, “White Chicks” easily ranks as his worst. It’s such a dumb movie, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t an SNL sketch first.
Little brothers Shawn and Marlon star in the writer-director’s latest, a festival of witlessness in which two black agents impersonate pampered white debutantes as part of an FBI plan to break up a kidnapping ring. Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek play a pair of spoiled socialite sisters who look a little like Renee Zellweger and act a lot like Nicky and Paris Hilton. The bureau gets wind of a plot to hold them for ransom on the eve of an important society weekend and calls in its master make up artist. That’s right. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, we are to believe, has people on its payroll whose job description calls for the creation of fake female body parts. A few prosthetic boobs, several layers of white base coat and a couple of blonde wigs later, the two Wayans are mixing it up with the creme de la Hamptons creme.
Here’s a punchline indicative of the picture’s comic level at its highest: When the incognito Wayans run into three of the real heiresses’ best friends, the other women notice immediately that the sisters have undergone radical physical transformation. “Oh my God,” one of the trio exclaims, “collagen!” The kidnapping storyline takes a back seat until the film’s final few minutes. Most of the movie consists of jawdroppingly lame sight gags (Oh look, the guys have a hard time squeezing into outfits designed for anorexic waifs half their size), ho hum jokes (“This thong gives me diaper rash”) and a sleeping pill of a subplot about the long-standing rivalry between the sisters and a pair of generic b*****s played by Jamie King and Brittany Daniel. Think “Mean Girls” rewritten by Joe Piscopo.
“White Chicks” sinks much much lower than that though. One running gag, in which another pair of agents quizzes one other as to who they’d rather have sex with given two unappealing choices, is stolen from the Howard Stern show. The Wayans really show their wild and crazy side in a scene featuring former NFL star Terry Crews, who plays a self impressed pro athlete aggressively pursuing one of the shemales. When bragging about his sexual prowess (“You’re gonna need a wheelchair after”), advertising his wealth and making suggestive gestures with his tongue fail to seal the deal, he resorts to drugging her drink. Date rape-what a laugh riot! I almost forgot the movie was exploring important themes for a minute there and thought it was just sick juvenile junk. Which, of course, it is. In addition to being a brain damaged rip off of “Tootsie”. The audience is expected to excuse the Wayans their total lack of artistry and taste here, in light of their last minute epiphany. After walking a mile in their heels, the two brothers profess a new found appreciation and respect for women, a sentiment which comes across about as real as the latex breasts they’ve just worn for the last two hours.
If there is anything brilliant about “White Chicks”, it’s the selection of its release date. Talk about inspired counterprogramming. While Michael Moore gives millions of Americans something to think about, film fans without a thought in their heads will have someplace where they’ll feel right at home