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White Chicks Review

By Shawn McKenzie 09/02/2005

I had a feeling that White Chicks was going to be bad.  The trailers alone for the movie made it look awful.  That might be why it finally took so long for me to get around to writing this review.  I watched it again, and it is still stupid to me.

Brothers Kevin (Shawn Wayans) and Marcus Copeland (Marlon Wayans) are two FBI agents who mean to do the right thing, but they keep screwing up.  At the beginning of the movie, they have disguised themselves as two Indian ice cream shop owners intending to make a cocaine buy (they think of themselves as masters of disguise.  As you will see, they aren’t very good at it.)  They try making a deal with a Russian (Taras Kostyuk) who they think is the drug dealer, only to let the real one (Zoltan Barabas) and his two henchmen (Brad Loree and Paul Lazenby) get away.  Section Chief Elliott Gordon (Frankie Faison) chews them out as a result, and fellow rival Agents Jake Harper (Lochlyn Munro) and Vincent Gomez (Eddie Velez) tease them about it.  To make matters worse for Marcus, his wife Gina (Faune Chambers) thinks that he is cheating on her.  The next day, at a special briefing, they are assigned to chauffer spoiled socialites Brittany (Maitland Ward) and Tiffany Wilson (Anne Dudek), along with their dog Baby (the dog’s real name is Charlie) from JFK airport to a hotel in the Hamptons.  There has been a kidnapping threat made against the girls, and their father, CEO of Wilson Cruise Lines Andrew Wilson, doesn’t want anything to happen to them while they attend the last weekend of the social season.  The kidnapping suspect is a man named Ted Burton (Michel Cook), a former business partner of Andrew, who spent time in jail and was involved in a previous kidnapping attempt.  Kevin and Marcus try not to mess this one up, though they think that this babysitting job is demeaning.  Unfortunately, they do mess this one up when Baby climbs on their car’s dash, distracting Kevin while driving and running them off the road.  The girls only end up with minor facial abrasions, but it is enough not to want to be seen by anyone they know, for fear of embarrassment.  Rather than admit to Gordon that they screwed up, Kevin has the girls stay in a safe house and calls in Josh (David Lewis), an expert in latex designs, to transform the agent brothers into the Wilson sisters (in the worst disguises I’ve ever seen in a movie.)  They check into the hotel, where they meet old friends Karen Googlestein (Busy Philipps), who is interested in Heath (John Reardon); Lisa (Jennifer Carpenter), and Tori (Jessica Cauffiel.)  The friends find their appearance odd, but they tell their fellow socialites that they had collagen applied and their knees done to make themselves taller.  Kevin Brittany and Marcus Tiffany also have to deal with their socialite enemies, Heather (Jaime King), who is dating Russ (Steven Grayhm), and Megan Vandergeld (Brittany Daniel), who are the daughters of rich businessman Warren Vandergeld (John Heard) and his wife Elaine (Suzy Joachim.)  At the same party that they run into the Vandergeld sisters, Kevin meets a social scene reporter named Denise Porter (Rochelle Aytes) from New York One News, with whom he is attracted to (she thinks that Kevin Brittany is trying to come on to her though.)  Marcus doesn’t have as good of luck as Kevin at the function.  Pro athlete Latrell Spencer (Terry Crews), who is traveling with his assistant Tony (Casey Lee), is attracted to white women, and he hits on Marcus.  That next night, at a charity auction called the Southampton Nuclear Opposition Benefit (S.N.O.B.), where they auction off the female socialites to the male socialites, Latrell bids on Marcus Tiffany.  Kevin, appearing as a man, tries to pretend to be Latrell to impress Denise the next day on the beach.  While Marcus has to go on his date with Latrell, Kevin goes out with Denise, who tells him that she really wants to be a serious investigative reporter instead of a puff piece writer.  He also finds out some interesting facts about the possible reason why the Wilson sisters have been targeted for kidnapping.  From then on, the Copeland brothers try to avoid Harper and Gomez, who are on the same Wilson case, and Gina, who has arrived in the Hamptons with her friend Shaunice (Drew Sidora) to see if Marcus is still cheating on her, all while trying to stop the kidnapping attempt and maybe get back in their boss’s good graces.

Maybe the other Wayans brother, Keenan Ivory, who co-wrote (with Shawn and Marlon, and three other writers) and directed this movie, wanted to do a comedy that wasn’t a spoof.  I guess I could applaud him for that…but this movie was just awful.  There is a reason why it was nominated for five Razzie awards, including Worst Picture.

I’ve already mentioned how bad the makeup job was in it.  The thing I didn’t understand was why they thought the drag queen show thing would work.  In other comedies where a man dresses up in drag, from 1982’s Tootsie, to 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, to 2000’s Big Momma’s House, to 2002’s Sorority Boys, the man (or men) were all original creations.  What I mean is that the Copeland brothers were disguising themselves to take over for actual women that existed and were known by other characters in the movie.  There was no existing woman that the man was stepping in for in those other movies. 

Also, it was an obvious take on the image of Paris and Nicky Hilton, right down to using a parody of The Penfifteen Club’s “Hey, Ms. Hilton” (except that they called it “Hey, Ms. Wilson.”)  I’d say that the Hilton sisters would be offended, but I think that this movie harmed the Wayans’ image more than that of the Hiltons.

The biggest problem was that the normally very funny Wayans Brothers weren’t funny at all.  That includes a scene where the “Wilson sisters” do a battle of “yo mama” jokes with the Vandergeld sisters.  What could have been hilarious just wasn’t.  I have to admit that I really liked Keenan’s spoof movies, such as 1988’s I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and the first two Scary Movie’s (his only other directorial effort, 1994’s horrible A Low Down Dirty Shame, just further proves that he should stick to spoofs.)

Maybe there is a reason that I took my sweet time getting around to finally reviewing White Chicks.  I usually try to find something good in a comedy when I’ve seen the people involved in it make better movies, but I just couldn’t find anything good here.  Did you know that it actually made over $69 million in the box office?  That is just odd.  There are two versions of the DVD available…a PG-13 rated one and an unrated one.  Both versions have the same features, which include a featurette called “How’d they do that?,” where they show how the really bad makeup was applied.  They also have a couple of other featurettes, a filmography for the cast and crew, and commentaries by the Wayans brothers.  Let’s hope that Keenan’s next movie will be much better than this one (his next projected project is the movie version of the “In Living Color” recurring skit Homey the Clown…but somehow I don’t think that will be much better.)

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