** (out of 5)
June 23, 2004
Shawn Wayans as KEVIN COPELAND
Marlon Wayans as MARCUS COPELAND
Frankie Faison as SECTION CHIEF ELLIOTT GORDON
John Heard as WARREN VANDERGELD
Jaime King as HEATHER VANDERGELD
Brittany Daniel as MEGAN VANDERGELD
Jessica Cauffiel as TORI
Busy Philipps as KAREN
Directed by: Keenan Ivory Wayans
BY KEVIN CARR
Let’s forget for a moment about all the other problems with “White Chicks.” Let’s forget about the overused storyline. Let’s forget about the clunky plot and shallow characters. Let’s forget about the racist undertones of the film.
Bottom line, the white chicks scare me.
Seriously. They’re freaky looking. They are the stuff of nightmares. In the beginning of the movie, Shawn and Marlon Wayans dress themselves up as Puerto Rican shop owners trying to score a big drug hit. And while the scene is probably more offensive to Puerto Ricans “Springtime for Hitler” would be to Holocaust Survivors, I will admit their make-up job is pretty darn good.
But when the two slap on the “white face” and pose as Hilton-sister wannabes, they’re just plain scary. They’re not remotely attractive, and they don’t look remotely real. The Wayans brothers look like they’re wearing old masks from the “Halloween” films. They have the kind of faces that make Michael Jackson look normal.
As the plot goes, Kevin and Marcus Copeland (Shawn and Marlon Wayans) are two bumbling FBI agents hanging onto their jobs by a thread. In order to get back in the good graces of their boss, they take a B.S. assignment to be the escorts to two potential kidnap victims, a not-so-subtle Hilton sisters knock-off. The Copeland brothers decide to put themselves undercover as the girls and root out the kidnappers themselves.
There was a time when Keenan Ivory Wayans still had an edge. Back in the days of “In Living Color,” no one could touch him. He and his Wayans clan had a biting wit that skewered many sacred cows. On the big screen, he’s done some fine work as well, most notably his blacksploitation spoof “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka!” Even the first two “Scary Movie” installments were pretty good with him at the helm.
But now? There’s nothing original about this. All these jokes have been overused since Eddie Murphy did the schtick on Saturday Night Live in the mid-1980s. There’s nothing daring about “White Chicks.” It’s the same old reverse racism jokes we’ve seen for years.
Here’s where Keenan Ivory Wayans missed the boat. If he really wanted to stir up some controversy and make a movie that would shake up racial politics, he should have made a movie about two white police officers posing as black girls. Imagine the politically correct pundits try to criticize the use of black face in a Wayans Brothers movie.
But sadly, “White Chicks” is nothing more than female “Amos and Andy” with the races reversed. Not that I was offended, really. I was just not interested.
However, “White Chicks” isn’t a total loser. I will admit there are some funny jokes in it. It reminds me of a line from the film in which an FBI agent asks another who he would rather have sex with – Pamela Anderson or Carmen Electra if both of them have a yeast infection (as well as Pamela Anderson’s not-so-sexy hepatitis C infection).
In some ways, this movie is like having sex with Carmen Electra with a yeast infection. It can be fun at times, and there are some genuinely good things there – but you’re gonna have to go through some pretty nasty stuff to get to them. Part way through the film, I started hating myself because I actually found some of it funny. I guess that goes to show that Keenan Ivory Wayans hasn’t totally lost it.
Still, if there ever was a demonstration that there is not equality with race, it is “White Chicks.” I’ve seen modern black stand-up from D.L. Hughley to Jamie Foxx, and these comedians are still rehashing the old “aren’t white people funny” jokes. This was funny and edgy once – like back in the 1970s when people like Richard Pryor first brought it on stage. But now we find ourselves thirty years later telling the same tired lines? If these jokes can still be made and the comedians are excused because they’re black themselves, then can it really be said that we’re making any progress as a society?