White Chicks review by Mike Long

If you've seen more than one movie, then you know that they aren't all winners. Thus, we learn to take the good with the bad. For example, the horror movie may not have been scary, but maybe the special effects were good, or maybe the drama wasn't moving, but the acting was good. However, there's no excusing a comedy which isn't funny. There's nothing worse than watching a comedy wanting/expecting to laugh and coming away empty-handed. That's the case with White Chicks, a film from the Wayans Brothers, a group who should know better.

Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans star in White Chicks as FBI agents Kevin and Marcus Copeland. (Who I guess are brothers. I don't remember this ever being mentioned in the film.) After botching a drug sting, the pair are assigned to escort two rich heiresses, Brittany Wilson (Maitland Ward) & Tiffany Wilson (Anne Dudek), to the Hamptons. The FBI believes that the sisters may be the target of a serial kidnapper. While Kevin and Marcus aren't happy about this babysitting assignment, they do see this as a chance to nab the kidnapper and appease their boss. After a vehicular mishap where the two sisters receive minor scrapes, they refuse to continue with their trip. So, Kevin and Marcus get the brilliant idea to disguise themselves as the Wilson sisters and visit The Hamptons themselves to catch the kidnappers. With their “white chick” getups in place, Kevin and Marcus hit the social scene, where they soon learn that being a woman may be harder than catching a crook.

If you have trouble finding White Chicks in your local video store, then you may want to check the science-fiction section. All movies ask us to suspend our disbelief to a point, but White Chicks really goes off the deep end. In films like Mrs. Doubtfire, we give it the benefit of the doubt that the characters don’t recognize the impostor. But, that’s impossible in White Chicks. Once in their guises, the Wayans look less like women than they do aliens. Their wildly blue eyes and pasty skin is more creepy than funny. So, when the characters in the film are mistaking them for the Wilsons and finding them attractive, it comes across as more confusing than comedic.

Those problems aside, the movie simply isn’t funny, as it’s a one-joke movie. Once the people in The Hamptons have accepted Kevin and Marcus as the Wilsons, that one joke is over. The scenes of Shawn and Marlon speaking high voices and trying on women’s clothing get old fast and are never really funny. With In Living Color, the Wayans (White Chicks was directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans) proved that they know comedy and that they work best when they have a target. White Chicks has no real target, save for rich white girls, and that’s a group that have been lampooned by other films to the point that it’s no longer fresh. When the film was announced, I saw many messages on the net where people were calling racism. Don’t worry, the film isn’t racist, as it focus on the chick part of White Chicks. Maybe if it had been racist it would have been funny. Considering the new ground that Keenen Ivory Wayans broke with films like Hollywood Shuffle and Scary Movie, it’s surprising how derivative the film is. (Most of the story, save for the cross-dressing part, is stolen from Bad Boys.) Even if you overlook the talent involved in White Chicks, one would expect at least a few laughs from it. But, the movie fails to deliver on any level (even with six writers credited) and can only make me wonder how the Wayans’ will “make up” for this disaster.

White Chicks sneaks onto DVD courtesy of Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment. The film is being released in two separate versions, the PG-13 rated theatrical cut and an unrated cut which runs some 6 minutes longer. For the purposes of this review, only the PG-13 edition was reviewed. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks fairly good, as the picture contains only a slight amount of grain at times and there are no overt defects from the source material. The colors look very good, as the film is filled with a many bright and colorful costumes. The picture has a nice amount of depth, but there are some noticeable haloes in some scenes. The DVD’s Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track sounds very good as it delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. The track is well-balanced, never being too loud or too soft. The surround sound effects are in-frequent, but effective when they do arrive, and the film’s hip-hop soundtrack provides an admirable amount of subwoofer action.

The DVD contains a few extras. We start with an audio commentary from co-writer/director Keenen Ivory Wayans and stars/co-writers Shawn Wayans & Marlon Wayans. The brothers give a generous amount of information about the film on this track, but the track itself isn’t as entertaining as one would expect. They crack a few jokes, but it’s mostly dry anecdotes about the film’s production. The DVD contains three featurettes. “How’d They Do That? (The Makeup)” (12 minutes) explores the special effects makeup which was used to transform the Wayans’ into White Chicks. Makeup artist Greg Cannom is interviewed and there is time-lapse photography of part of the 5-hour makeup application time. “A Wayans Comedy (The Idea, Process, & Humor) (10 minutes) allows Keenen, Shawn, and Marlon to talk about the origin of the film’s central premise and how the script was hammered out. There is also an overview of the characters. “Encore: On the Set” (14 minutes) is a made-for-TV “making of” featurette which features a lot of clips from the film, minimal behind-the-scenes footage, and many comments from the cast and crew which appeared in the other featurettes. The extras are rounded out with filmographies and the theatrical trailer for White Chicks, which is letterboxed at 1.85:1.

2 out of 10 Jackasses

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