This week I watched “White Chicks”, a 2004 comedy directed by Keenan Wayans and starring brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans. For those of you unfamiliar with the plot of this movie, let’s recap. Brothers (hmm, sounds familiar) Kevin and Marcus Copeland are FBI agents. In the beginning of the movie we are introduced to their modus operandi, which apparently involves donning disguises and playing to racial stereotypes in order to trap some stereotypically Russian drug dealers disguised as…ice cream salesmen. Yeah. It was at this point that I first considered calling my local county prosecutor and reporting that somebody was murdering jokes. Things rapidly go from bad to worse as the boys are threatened with being reassigned to Iraq when it turns out the ice cream they ordered is NOT cocaine, but simple vanilla ice cream.
We’re next subjected to a slice of Marcus’ home life. It turns out he’s a henpecked husband, his overbearing wife berating him for never listening to her while not letting him get a word in edgewise. He ends up falling asleep in his chair, which I have to admit I sympathized with. I would do anything to tune out that whining harpy too.
In order to prove that they’re still worthy of their jobs, the brothers Copeland volunteer for the assignment nobody wants: escorting spoiled heiresses Tiffany and Brittany Wilson to their weekend in the Hamptons, where the FBI suspects the girls will be the the targets of a kidnapping attempt. Along the way there is a minor auto accident, causing superficial scrapes to the two socialites. They break down in hysterics, and Marcus hatches a plan for he and his brother to impersonate the girls for the weekend, preventing their boss from finding out what happened and letting them keep their jobs.
Or that’s the theory, anyway. This movie is plagued with problems. Let’s start by counting off all the insulting stereotypes, both played for laughs and played straight. Empty-headed socialites? Check. Horny black guy only interested in white women? Check. Henpecked husband with overbearing wife? Double check. Admittedly, the only one not played for laughs is the last one, and there IS some truth to the particular stereotypes they use in this movie. But still. The movie comes across as very shallow. The plot is…well, ludicrous. There is no way two guys could A) perform an undercover mission to this extent without the knowledge or consent of their boss, B) impersonate two girls to their best friends for what appears to be at least three days and possibly as much as a week without arousing more than mild suspicion, and C) perpetrate that amount of carnage and mayhem without incurring a significant amount of paperwork. All of this could maybe, MAYBE be excused if the acting was decent. Unfortunately, it isn’t. The only actors who made me believe that they WERE their characters were Those Two Guys, Gomez and Harper. It’s not easy to pull off the role of “comic relief” to the characters in a comedy movie, but these two did it. Kudos to them. The Wayans brothers were ridiculous, not amusing except when they BROKE their “Wilson” characters. I’d go into more detail, but I’m afraid there just isn’t enough substance to this movie for me to produce a decent-length review, so I’ll just leave it here.
In conclusion: “White Chicks” is an abominable movie. The acting is subpar, the costumes are clownish, and the entire scenario is ridiculous on a level rarely seen outside Steven Seagal films. But in the end, it DOES succeed at one thing: being funny. I was laughing from start to finish, and to my surprise my laughter was actually caused by the jokes more often than it was caused by some ridiculously stupid moment onscreen. Being a comedy, the jokes are the most important part, and in this area “White Chicks” managed to not just deliver, but shine.