Combustible Celluloid
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With: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jaime King, Frankie Faison, Lochlyn Munro, John Heard, Busy Philipps, Terry Crews, Brittany Daniel, Eddie Velez, Jessica Cauffiel, Maitland Ward, Anne Dudek, Rochelle Aytes, Jennifer Carpenter, Faune A. Chambers, John Reardon, Steven Grayhm, Drew Sidora
Written by: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Andy McElfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden, Xavier Cook
Directed by: Keenen Ivory Wayans
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some drug content
Running Time: 109
Date: 06/23/2004

White Chicks (2004)

1 Star (out of 4)

Stale Blue Eyes

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In the summer of 1986, George Lucas withheld images from his forthcoming movie, Howard the Duck, which built up breathless anticipation over just how the feathered hero was going to look. By the time moviegoers figured out that it was just a guy in a cheap duck suit, the weekend grosses were already in.

The Wayans brothers should have done the same with their new so-called comedy White Chicks, directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans. Looking at Shawn and Marlon Wayans dressed as blond heiresses (probably based on the Hilton sisters) causes more in the way of repulsion than it does laughs. They're too big and their faces and necks are too thick, and they wear long, lumpy clothing for a summer weekend in the Hamptons.

But the worst part is those fake blue contact lenses, making their eyes chilling, lifeless orbs. More than anything, it's those dead eyes that make White Chicks so horrible.

Shawn and Marlon play Kevin and Marcus Copeland, two hapless FBI agents. A prologue lets us know that the Copelands like to wear disguises, even if they draw extra attention to themselves with their chronic overacting. Hence, they go undercover as Tiffany (Anne Dudek) and Brittany Wilson (Maitland Ward) to prevent the sisters from being kidnapped.

Most "drag" comedies involve invented personas, like Tootsie. But here, the brothers are trying to portray actual sisters, passing themselves off to friends and family. It's constantly annoying that no one ever sees through these horrible disguises.

Because nobody alive could stretch this single, feeble joke to 101 minutes, the filmmakers throw in the usual collection of flatulence jokes and fill out the rest with half-a-dozen feeble subplots, involving jealous wives, enemy debutantes and rival FBI agents.

Two such subplots are lifted from Some Like It Hot. One brother dresses as a man to seduce a beautiful female reporter (Rochelle Aytes), and the other one must ward off the advances of a mountainous, libidinous athlete (Terry Crews).

Fortunately, Crews (also in the recent Baadasssss!) provides the movie's only silver lining. Like Joe E. Brown in Some Like It Hot, he throws himself completely and unashamedly into his ridiculous role. It's a joyous performance, emphasized by a fearless physicality.

But Crews is the film's one happy accident. The rest probably originated as a funny, spontaneous living room sketch at the Wayans' house. By the time the three Wayans brothers (plus three other writers) got it all on paper and in front of the cameras anything funny had long ago dried up.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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