White Chicks

Movie Information

Genre: Comedy
Director: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Starring: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jaime King, John Heard, Terry Spencer
Rated: PG-13

I would have gladly walked out of this unfunny — and, frankly, creepy — excuse for a movie, but I became fascinated by trying to figure out just who White Chicks was aimed at. Apparently, it was made for whatever that target audience is that thinks the ne plus ultra of humor is rampant flatulence. Then again, the film reminded me of an assessment I heard of the Wayans’ Scary Movie 2, where someone told me, “Stoned, I give it a four; if I wasn’t, I’d give it a one.”

Maybe that’s the secret to enjoying a movie like this — an altered state of consciousness where anything is funny. Personally, I think I could have been more entertained with a piece of string than with this movie. And I admit I was sorely tempted to follow the advice of a friend, who said my entire review should consist of my initial response to the film. In that case, this write-up would have read, simply, “I saw White Chicks. Sweet Jesus!”

Here is yet another of those stupid movies that looks, feels and plays like a bad five-minute comedy sketch inflated to feature length. The whole concept has only one gag — turning Shawn and Marlon Wayans into white chicks. But even that doesn’t work. These two don’t even slightly resemble white women. They don’t even look quite human, and I kept being reminded of nothing so much as Peter Lorre in the disguise that covers his fire-scarred visage in The Face Behind the Mask. Yet somehow I don’t think evoking a genuinely downbeat horror film was quite what the Wayans had in mind here.

As if this isn’t bad enough in and of itself, the film believes it has to come up with a plot that makes this idea practical. So it makes the Wayans inept FBI agents who blow a collar and get assigned to escort two heiresses (Anne Dedek and Maitland Ward) to a big do in the Hamptons. When the guys have a slight accident that leaves the girls with a couple of facial scratches that cause them to refuse to be seen in public, well, our heroes decide to transform themselves into their charges. Why? See, there’s this overly complicated kidnapping plot that involves … oh, who cares?

It takes a battery of FBI experts seven hours to turn the guys into the titular white chicks. I’ll overlook the fact that the same experts could have made the real white chicks look just fine in about 30 seconds, yet I’m still wondering how the Wayans can then subsequently go in and out of interracial drag with comparative ease and no help. All of this is just an excuse for the boys to learn how to be sensitive and cook up supposed laughs by forgetting how to talk and behave like women or having to fend off the advances of lecherous men.

I think the film wants to be edgy and offensive. And, OK, it did keep me on the edge of my seat because I wanted to leave, and it certainly offended my intelligence — but that’s all. Too, I suppose it might rile the Paris Hilton Anti-Defamation League, which may be worth something. All in all, though, this is just another flat, forced, unfunny comedy — only a little more so.

In the end … well … I saw White Chicks. Sweet Jesus!

— reviewed by Ken Hanke

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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