As the story
goes, Keenen Ivory Wayans found inspiration in an article
about debutantes in the Hamptons. Spitballing ideas for
the next Wayans Brothers movie, Keenen, Shawn and Marlon
agreed that turning the comedy duo into young hot white
women would be funny. In theory, they were probably right.
in putting that idea into a script (and tweaked by yet another
three writers), they didn't really have anything to say
except, "they're white chicks!" So White Chicks lurches
along on one, maybe one and a half, jokes, hoping that no
one will notice it's as empty as the stare of one of the
Wilson Sisters that the Wayans portray.
(Keenen Ivory) sets the tone early with a loud but dull
set up scene. As FBI agents Marcus and Kevin Copeland, his
brothers have gone undercover in a bodega to catch some
drug dealers. Their make-up, by Keith VanderLaan and Greg
Cannom, is pretty effective, though as middle-aged men they
both bear a strange resemblance to Ted Lange on The Love
Boat. Their actions, however, snap our belief before
we can even form it. Because the filmmaker thinks it's funny,
we must accept that latino ice cream men will not know that
Marlon mispronouncing the words to "Guantanamera" means
he doesn't actually speak Spanish.
Worse, the Copelands
have terrible instincts. When faced with drug dealers posing
as ice cream vendors, they fail to note that it's probably
the Russians, and not the guys with tubs of ice cream. But
then, sloppy thinking rules the day.
It's a dangerous
time to portray the FBI as this full of complete idiots.
Through a series
of wacky hijinks that does involve somewhat funny cruelty
to a small dog, the Copelands find themselves posing as
the Wilsons (Anne Dudek and Maitland Ward), self-involved
blond cruise ship heiresses that are the target of a kidnapping
plot. And once again, the FBI evidently forgot that the
"I" stands for "investigation," because only through luck
and happenstance do the brothers discover who the kidnapper
really is. Then again, it's only through luck and happenstance
that the movie remembers it has this as its central plot.
For about thirty
minutes, the Wayanses deliver a series of quick gross-out
vignettes that make fun of white girls, but it never builds
up to anything. They create an excuse to do "Your Mama"
insults. They point out that black people don't like Vanessa
Carlton's music (except one guy). And whenever they drift
toward making a point, such as debutantes horrified at the
"n" word but more horrified by actual African-Americans,
the scene cuts away quickly, lest the audience be troubled
by a thought.
troubling thoughts: that Hamptons society is so superficial
that nobody can tell that the Copelands aren't the
Wilsons, even though they're about a foot taller and look
like the creepy Duracell family from commercials years ago.
Again, there's a joke here about plastic surgery, but the
film never develops it.
movie finds some structure by borrowing the plot of Some
Like It Hot, but even then, it's cursory. Nobody questions
why the Wilson sisters have black hands. If somebody is
about to discover that they're really the Copelands, we
feel no danger. There's just no sense of giddy farce, though
Marlon gets to do some giddy farts.
shame, because as both a writer and a director, Keenen Ivory
Wayans has proven he can mix lowbrow humor with high comedy.
Maybe it's just that when the brothers all get together, they
take it way too easy (the Scary Movie franchise belies
that, though). Certainly, Marlon has also proven himself an
inventive actor in movies away from the family franchise.
Shawn, however, should cut his losses as a comedian and go
for strong leading man, because once he takes the Tony Curtis
role here, he has moments that actually work.
Most of the
other actors meander around, including stalwart Lochlyn
Munro, who clearly has resigned himself to playing the dumb
guy in bad comedies. Two, however, rise above the mess to
make an impression.
a relatively dramatic counterpoint arc, Busy Philipps (Kim
& Geeks) believably plays a debutante growing dissatisfied
with the falsity of it all. Though the script doesn't take
it far enough, she has subtext.
Built all wrong
to be the basketball star the script has him be, Terry Crews
fills the Osgood role, Latrell Spencer. It's fairly by the
numbers, but this hugely musclebound actor throws himself
into it with such abandon that even the most obvious jokes
become funny. Crews will play the President in Mike Judge's
next movie, 3001. Hopefully, this means the guy will
be in a movie as funny as he can be.
In the meantime,
this movie is as disposable as one of the Wayans'