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White Chicks

  White Chicks
The Wayans prepare for season two of "The Swan."

© 2004, Sony
All Rights Reserved

Marcus (Marlon Wayans) and Kevin (Shawn Wayans) are two bumbling FBI agents looking for a way to get back into the good graces of their superiors. When an opportunity to escort two high-profile socialites, Tiffany (Anne Dudek) and Brittany Wilson (Maitland Ward), to the Hamptons comes along, the partners take the assignment, but accidentally injure the sisters, forcing them to cancel plans for a fashion show they were to attend. To avoid trouble, Marcus and Kevin dress up as the Wilson sisters and head to the Hamptons to cover for the missing siblings.

Keenan Ivory Wayans has had a heck of a time trying to top his extraordinary filmmaking debut, the blacksploitation spoof, "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka." Flush with cash from the lamentable success of his two "Scary Movie" films, Wayans returns with "White Chicks," (IMDb listing) a PG-13 film that isn't all that removed from the R-rated potty and racial humor that littered "Scary Movie." While "Chicks" is nothing to write home about, this is the closest Wayans has come yet to rivaling "Sucka's" laugh count.

Of course, to get to those laughs, one has to get through Shawn and Marlon Wayans. The two brothers, routinely employed by older brother Keenan, aren't the most skillful comedians around. Their haphazard, hyperactive approach to jokes (six screenwriters are credited on this film) and story (the picture's baffling narrative ends with a shootout) is what drags "White Chicks" down the most. The Wayans love their toilet humor, and "Chicks" isn't shy to parade an endless stream of flatulence and sex gags, all of which fail miserably.

The central idea behind "Chicks" allows a giant opportunity for rich girl satire, and the film does take its shots at the Hilton sisters, along with the rest of the overprivileged dim bulbs that MTV bases entire network schedules around. Those scenes of mockery are great, including one bit where one of the Wilson posse has a volcanic panic attack about her cellulite in a dressing room. The Wayans are very good at making fun of Caucasians and the wealthy, but refuse to propose marriage to this questionably superior line of humor. "Chicks" stops dead all the time so Marlon can have a gross-out moment where he uses his teeth to get rid of a hangnail on his big toe or Shawn can get thrown around by an attack dog; deeply unfunny stuff. And I won't get in to the "lactose intolerant" scene featuring Marlon bug-eyed on a toilet. That alone should get Keenan banned from directing ever again.

Another curiosity of the film is the make-up jobs that turn Shawn and Marlon into the Wilson sisters. Looking like a cross between Kira, the female Gelfling from "The Dark Crystal," and platinum-haired boogeymen from a particularly intense pepperoni pizza-induced nightmare, the Wayans don't make terribly convincing white chicks. Yes, they have the Hiltonesque mannerisms down pat (which includes unrelenting cruelty to those below their class, laced with high-pitched giggles), but the faces are so far from duplicating their intended doppelgangers that suspension of disbelief in unheard of amounts must be in place before any audience member walks into a theater.

While the two Wayans jump around for attention, it's the supporting talent that makes the biggest impression in "White Chicks." Nice, brightly played turns by Wilson sister friends Busy Phillips and Jessica Cauffiel help sell the illusion that Marcus and Kevin are truly infiltrating this elite world. But Terry Crews ("Friday After Next") owns the film as a pro basketball player who has the hots for Marcus in his Wilson make-up. Crews is silly and over-the-top, but never obnoxious (Marlon and Shawn should learn that trait), and his screen time elicits laughs at every appearance; singing along with Vanessa Carlton's white chick anthem, "A Thousand Miles," being the film's uproarious comedic highlight. Without Crews, "White Chicks" would be about as entertaining as the real Hilton sisters.

Filmfodder Grade: B-



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