Threatened with being kicked out of the force, FBI agents Marcus and Kevin Copeland (Marlon and Shawn Wayans) take on one final assignment in the hope of winning back their credibility: guarding a pair of heiresses, the Wilton sisters (Anne Dudek and Maitland Ward) who are threatened by kidnappers during a weekend in the Hamptons at the height of the social season. However, all goes awry and Marcus and Kevin wind up having to alter their race and gender in order to masquerade as the Wiltons themselves.
Review by Jake Wilson:
There’s a running gag in White Chicks where one FBI agent keeps asking another which of two celebrities he’d prefer to have sex with. Whatever option the patsy in this routine goes for, his partner shoots back: “That’s disgusting!”
“Well, which would you choose?”
After a pause: “No time.”
As this exchange suggests, there are moments when it’s hard for a regular guy to sort out which of his urges are “normal” and which are unacceptable. Such anxieties are the secret of White Chicks’ partial success: the plot makes no sense and the jokes are rarely clever, but it’s hard for a low comedy to step into the minefields of race, class and gender without triggering a few explosive laughs.
However, it’s not always clear who’s the butt of the joke. The squinting, simpering Wayans brothers seem to have based their drag performances less on actual women than on Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot. But where the absurd fakery of Lemmon and Curtis was heightened by contrast with the va-va-voom of Marilyn Monroe, here the real “white chicks” are every bit as grotesque as their ersatz counterparts: bitchy, snobbish, racist, air-headed, anorexic, insecure, and generally hysterical.
Most importantly, they’re not sexy. In the film’s terms, it’s inconceivable that either of the heroes will be attracted to a white woman – any more than their enforced masquerade will tempt them to go gay all of a sudden. Up till the final shot, the only character to cross either of these strictly policed borders is the utterly pathetic Latrell Spencer, played by Terry Crews in a reprise of a similar role in Ice Cube’s Friday After Next: both a brute and a dandy, absurdly buff yet “feminine” in his innocent self-love. While he’s scorned as an Uncle Tom figure, a black man who yearns to fit into a white world, he also incarnates the racist stereotypes of “blackness” which a tit-for-tat mockery of “whiteness” presumably reacts against. In short, he’s the walking unconscious of this “outrageous” but disappointingly timid movie – openly displaying more than one kind of love that otherwise dare not speak its name.
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WHITE CHICKS (M)
CAST: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jaime King, Frankie Faison, Lochlyn Munro, John Heard, Busy Philipps, Terry Crews, Brittany Daniel
PRODUCER: Rick Alvarez, Lee R. Mayes, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans
DIRECTOR: Keenen Ivory Wayans
SCRIPT: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Andrew McElfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden, Xavier Cook (story by Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Bernstein
EDITOR: Jeff Gourson, Stuart H. Pappé
MUSIC: Teddy Castellucci
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paul Peters
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 5, 2004