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The Hot Chick

  The Hot Chick
Rob Schneider realizes that this moment with Anna Faris is as good as it's going to get.

© 2002, Touchstone
All Rights Reserved

Jessica Spencer (Rachel McAdams) is her high school's most popular student, but also its meanest. Together with her friends, Jessica makes life miserable for most of the people around her. But her attitude changes when she comes into contact with mystical identity-swapping earrings, and her body is swapped with that of a grimy, small-time crook named Clive (Rob Schneider). Stuck inside a shell she can't quite figure out, Jessica must make amends with those she's offended, before her new body threatens to ruin her relationship with her boyfriend (Matthew Lawrence), the big cheerleading contest, and, of course, the prom.

I'll be honest, "The Hot Chick" (IMDb listing) is feebly directed, written with a distinct aim at crudity and dangerous stereotyping, drags on for more than 100 minutes, and stars the less-than-appetizing Rob Schneider. Yet, with the help of producer Adam Sandler, and Schneider's burgeoning writing talents, "The Hot Chick" overcomes its weak design, and turns out to be a completely agreeable, often very funny experience.

There's a lot of comedic road to cover with this plot, and Schneider (with director and co-writer Tom Brady) does his best to touch on every teenage girl cliché and absurd situation. Coming off his similarly silly "The Animal," Schneider is growing more confident with each new film. "The Hot Chick" features Schneider's best performance to date, as he eats up the chance to turn his goofy 40-year-old male body and narrow personality into that of a sexually-charged 17-year-old girl. The results are quite funny, with Schneider finding time to lampoon subjects like teen-girl key chains, morning erections, pillow fights, the mystery of male genitalia, strip club rules and the giddy taboo of teenage drinking. It's all written in a extravagantly bizarre Sandleresque way (Sandler also cameos here), that merges the absurd with the deliriously funny.

Helping the film is the supporting cast, namely Anna Faris and Rachel McAdams. Faris is a veteran of satiric comedy -- she was in the Wayans Brothers' "Scary Movie" films -- and she has a way of wringing a laugh out of anything. With her gigantic eyes and willingness to go broad for a response, Faris is a pleasure in "The Hot Chick," and steals the film from Schneider when she can. A talented comedienne at 26, Faris has a long career ahead of her. The same is true of McAdams, who has the unenviable task of embodying the other side of this gender-switching comedy. Like Faris, McAdams lets herself look foolish to find the laugh, and she succeeds easily. It's a nice debut for this young actress.

"The Hot Chick" swerves into trouble with its pacing. Every scene is 30 seconds longer than it should be, making the film sluggish. The picture seems one editorial pass away from being truly great, with jokes run into the ground and performances carried on a little too long. Arguably, "The Hot Chick" may have other problems that simple edits won't fix, but it's funny more often than not, and I don't ask much more than that from wacky undertakings like this.

Filmfodder Grade: B

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