After collaborating on Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Scary Movie, and Scary Movie 2 the Wayans boys are back and this time they’re tackling rich white socialite society in the movie White Chicks. Unlike their previous spoofs, this movie has a real plot, one with more holes in it than a chain link fence. The fifth directorial effort from Quentin Tarantino brought us the genius of this year’s Kill Bill: Volume II, yet Keenan Ivory Wayans’ fifth effort contains no effort. The Wayanses must be disbanded A.S.A.P.
First off, let me just get this off my chest. Keenan Ivory had to have worn a blindfold during the shoot. Either that or editor Jeff Gourson, has downs syndrome. The occasional random dip of a Boom microphone into a shot can be understandable if it isn’t caught. But throughout the entire movie the Boom mike kept popping in. The entire freaking movie. Part of the blame is on Keenen Ivory for hiring a narcoleptic boom operator, but also because the entire movie is framed all off. There is way too much space above their heads in the close-ups. How could a modestly budgeted summer movie have all this crap going wrong? Why wasn’t it spotted in the editing room? How could they have released a movie with all those problems? How could this have happened?
Anyway, onto the movie itself. F.B.I. agents Marcus and Kevin Copeland are bumbling wild cops with an affinity for undercover antics. We first meet them disguised as Cuban bodega owners to bust a drug deal. The deal goes bad, their superior officer (Frankie Faison) is pissed off, and the pair are delegated to pick up two cruise line heiresses from the airport and escort them to the Hamptons. After a car accident the two “chicks” are injured (minor scratches) and refuse to go to the Hamptons. With their jobs on the line, the Copelands pose as the Wilsons to weed out potential kidnappers and keep their jobs...and comedy ensues. Well, not really. There are no surprises here. It’s the typical cavalcade of black people are cooler and hipper then white people scenarios, complete with a dance off. At least they didn’t play a game of Basketball.
There are a few light chuckles but nothing that will have you rolling the aisles. You’ll cringe at the prat falls and roll your eyes at the fart jokes. But it’s a relief to see Marlon Wayans in a “Wayans Brothers movie” not completely overacting and hamming for the camera. In his non make-upped scenes he actually appears have taken his Ritalin.
Like every “make-up” comedy since Tootsie, events unfold where men have to disguise themselves in order to infiltrate a given situation. The difference is in Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire, and even 1991's True Identity is that the lead characters were actors trying to advance their career, spend more time with their children, or hide out from a Mafioso. White Chicks, like Big Momma’s House, has the lead characters as F.B.I. Agents. These Agents are infiltrating the lives of real people and becoming them. The problem is that their make-up effects in no way make them look like who they’re trying to impersonate. Shawn and Marlon Wayans look more like creepy bleach blond Michael Jackson twins than spitting images of pseudo-Hiltons Brittany and Tiffany Wilson (Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek). True Identity pulled off the black guy in white face act a lot better, maybe because its less of a stretch to became a white guy than a “White Chick”.
The film is formulaic and the humor sophomoric and with a PG-13 rating, you can tell the Wayanses held back a little. Maybe it would’ve worked better with an R. White Chicks is atypical in every sense of the word. To see a good comedy this weekend, go out for Shrek 2 again or head over to Blockbuster and rent True Identity if you really want to see decent facial interracial comedy.
Reviewed By: Bill Beyrer