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WHITE CHICKS (PG-13) (2004)

Revolution Studios/Sony Pictures

Official Site

Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans

Producers: Rick Alvarez, Lee R. Mayes, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans

Written by: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Andrew McElfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden, Xavier Cook

Cast: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Frankie Faison, John Heard, Anne Dudek, Maitland Ward, Jaime King


This is typically the portion of the review in which I pull my hair out and my ulcers develop ulcers in an attempt to conceive some sort of clever introductory hook to insert some originality into a stolid format. It’s a difficult and time-consuming process, I assure you, and the rewards are not apparent (Is anyone even out there, reading these reviews?). Sometimes, however, brevity is best. This is one of those times. White Chicks is so utterly devoid of value that I cannot muster the strength required to be cute or clever. Call me lazy, whisper that I’m flaccid and uninspired, do what you must. I understand that the reader has certain lofty expectations that an author of any sort must meet. Keep in mind, though, that I am here for your protection. I saw White Chicks. Now you don’t have to.

The Copeland brothers, Marcus and Kevin (Marlon and Shawn Wayans, respectively), are two FBI agents (the FBI must have recently lowered their entrance criteria) who never seem to get things right. After an opening shootout sequence that is neither funny nor action-packed, the Chief (Faison) reprimands the brothers for allowing the criminals to escape, and things look grim for our disinteresting protagonists; the Chief grows tired of their “escapades”—one more screw-up and their jobs are forfeit. In an attempt to placate the Chief, the two take on an assignment that no other FBI agents will touch, the protection of the Wilson sisters, a duo of Hilton-like, space cadet skank elementals, who are under threat of kidnapping. Did I mention that the chicks are white? Because that bit of information is going to come into play later. Hilariously, the sisters incur dual facial injuries in a minor car accident while Marcus poses as their chauffeur, and they refuse to attend the parties in the Hamptons because of their insubstantial disfigurations. Exasperated, Marcus and Kevin do the only logical thing: They call some guy named “Josh,” who probably works for the FBI in some department, I guess, and who provides the brothers with “convincing” prosthetics and Caucasian-colored body-spray which “transforms” the two agents into the Wilson sisters. The real rich-bitch siblings recuperate in a hotel somewhere, while the “disguised” agents enter the “comic goldmine” of life as white chicks. And man, are white chicks stupid. And petty. And slutty. And boy oh boy, do they get lampooned… *shudder*. Some of the mirthful situations you’ll providentially dodge because you won’t see this movie (right?) are the friendships which develop between the “incognito” Marcus and Kevin and the Wilson sisters’ Hamptonian friends, involving many jokes which you’ve seen at least 3,256 instances previous about girls’ insecurities (girls are insecure, bwaaahahaha!); the implausible romance founded on lie after lie which arises between Kevin and a local investigative reporter; the pursuing of the “masqueraded” Marcus by a muscle-bound, often well-oiled African American basketball player with a fetish for, yeah, that’s right, white chicks; the resolution of the film’s plotlines at climactic fashion show sequence which, again, is neither action-packed nor funny, but does tie up the inane kidnapping plot centerpiece about which no one gives even the slightest damn.

Although it contains no real strengths, White Chicks’ Achilles heel is the make-up around which the entire film is centered. Marlon and Shawn Wayans, when “concealed,” more resemble grotesque aberrations of God than they do white chicks, their masks stiff, wrinkled, and unnaturally taut, like the flesh of burn victims. They are hideous, looking more like Frank Langella’s Skeletor from the 1980’s Masters Of The Universe picture than human beings. Their revolting appearance irrevocably destroys any and all attempts at comedy; their visages frighten and alarm instead. And yet somehow the characters in the film are all hoodwinked by the “veiled” agents, even the Copelands’ FBI peers. How this is possible I cannot begin to speculate, as the film is not nearly absurdist enough to make me believe that anyone might be fooled. The film’s entire cast simply ends up looking like absolute idiots, but not in an amusing way

White Chicks is low-brow, common-denominator drivel (see also Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, or Breakin’ All The Rules for more recent examples of this sort of “humor”). It is the rare film that fails on all levels. And it took a team of six screenwriters. (To put things into perspective, Casablanca was written by three people, Citizen Kane by two, and the modern classic Boogie Nights by one.) “Where,” I ask as I pray to Thomas A. Edison, progenitor of the motion picture and, as far as I’m concerned, patron saint of the medium, “are the modern-day Being Theres or Dr. Strangeloves or Duck Soups or even Airplanes? Why has intelligent humor forsaken us?” The only answers I receive are silence and stigmata, neither very helpful.

White Chicks sucks. Send a message to the studios by not seeing it. If you see it, I will find you and gouge out every eye you’ve got. Consider yourself warned.

—Nathan Baran

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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