F.B.I. agents Marcus and Kevin Copeland (Marlon and Shawn Wayans) incur the wrath of their boss after they confuse a vat of vanilla ice cream for a shipment of cocaine, ostensibly because all white objects look the same. Barely hanging on to their jobs, they accidentally volunteer to protect socialite sisters Brittany and Tiffany Wilson (Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek) from being kidnapped, but after nearly killing the girls on their way to the Hamptons, the guys decide to dress up as the grotesque girls and uncover the details of the kidnapping plot on their own terms. Because White Chicks seems to make a distinction between the average white person and the Paris Hiltons of the world, Marcus and Kevin’s drag act isn’t particularly offensive; in the end, they’re not infiltrating white culture as much as they are penetrating a society of privilege (the film’s climax humorously takes place at The White Party, an allusion perhaps to the yearly circuit party for elitist gays). The Wayans were responsible for In Living Color, a funny and irreverent spectacle of black solidarity and cultural subversion that’s nowhere on display throughout White Chicks. Marci X was seriously outmoded when it finally reached theaters, but White Chicks feels as if its been teleported from the ‘80s, when idiotic race and gender-identity comedies like Just One of the Guys and Soul Man seemed like they were all the rage. Unlike the sketchy but inspired Marci X, the misguided White Girls doesn’t seem to have anything relevant to say about race relations. Anyone who’s seen The Simple Life knows that Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie are not of the “ohmygod!” variety. They may not know how to use a microwave but they know how to exploit their looks and girlish charms to get what they want. The Wayans seem to understand the privilege of having money, but they don’t use their put-on whiteness, wealth, or womanhood to defeat the film’s evildoers. When they resort to juvenile farting and shitting gags, adolescent silliness trumps whatever social insight is buried throughout (the highlight of the film may be a scene where the drag queens tell their frightened white girlfriends that it’s okay to say the N-word if there are no black people around). What is the film’s drag act but an excuse for Marcus and Kevin to learn how to respect a woman’s feelings? By film’s end, the two friends learn that a woman cares about a man if she calls him on the phone and that she probably wants to touch him if she’s wears sexy perfume. Now tell us something we don’t know.
- Columbia Pictures
- 115 min
- Keenen Ivory Wayans
- Xavier Cook, Andy McElfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans
- Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jaime King, Frankie Faison, Lochlyn Munro, John Heard, Busy Phillipps, Terry Crews, Brittany Daniel, Eddie Velez
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