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(2004) (Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans) (PG-13)

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Comedy: Two black male FBI agents go undercover as white heiresses to try to thwart a kidnapping plan.
Kevin Copeland (SHAWN WAYANS) and Marcus Copeland (MARLON WAYANS) are two well-intentioned FBI agents who bungle one task after another. As a result, while their rivals Agents Jake Harper (LOCHLYN MUNRO) and Vincent Gomez (EDDIE VELEZ) are assigned to investigate a kidnapping threat against spoiled socialites Brittany (MAITLAND WARD) and Tiffany Wilson (ANNE DUDEK), chief Elliot Gordon (FRANKIE FAISON) only has Kevin and Marcus escorting the women to a hotel in the Hamptons.

When they bungle that and the sisters receive minor facial abrasions that will prevent them from being seen in public, Marcus and Kevin realize they have only one choice. Despite being black, male and several years older, they will go undercover and pose as the white Wilson sisters.

The litmus test is when they meet the Wilson's fellow socialites, Karen (BUSY PHILIPPS), Lisa (JENNIFER CARPENTER) and Tori (JESSICA CAUFFIEL), but the three attribute the changes in appearance to cosmetic surgery. Of course, their archenemies, Heather (JAIME KING) and Megan Vandergeld (BRITTANY DANIEL) -- daughters of wealthy businessman Warren Vandergeld (JOHN HEARD) -- could care less how they look and are more interested in dissing them.

As Marcus and Kevin try to get used to their new personalities, Marcus must not only deal with his jealous wife, Gina (FAUNE CHAMBERS), thinking he's cheating on her, but he must also contend with the forward advances of pro athlete Latrell Spencer (TERRY CREWS) who's attracted to white women. Meanwhile, Kevin tries to impress Denise Porter (ROCHELLE AYTES), a reporter covering the social scene. While doing so, they hope to uncover and thwart the kidnapping plot and thus save their reputations and jobs.

OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
If you've seen one man in drag movie, you've pretty much seen them all. And if you've seen more than one, you've likely witnessed just about every possible verbal, physical and mistaken identity angle and joke known to filmmakers. Of course, some are excellent ("Tootsie," "Some Like It Hot"), others are okay ("Mrs. Doubtfire") and the rest are usually trash.

Purposefully aiming for the latter category with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and trying to put a spin on the drag subgenre, a trio of Wayans brothers and three other writers have come up with "White Chicks."

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Two well intentioned, but bumbling FBI agents goof up so bad that they're given the lowly task of escorting two sisterly heiresses and making sure they're not kidnapped. The agents, of course, bungle that as well, horribly mutilating the twenty-something socialites and thus ruining them for social appearances with the rich and famous.

Okay, their two collective cuts don't exactly measure up to Monty Python's old "flesh wound" bit, but the plot needs a catalyst and the barely there scrapes serve the purpose. The two agents then decide to pose as the girls and keep it a secret from everyone. The only problem is that they're black men and the sisters are, well, young white women with blonde air and too much peroxide on the brain.

In true Hollywood style, the agents then don wigs, makeup and other physical accouterments to pull off the guise. Since they apparently live in Metropolis where the inhabitants are too dim to recognize a super man for his spectacles, let alone men in such fake feminine makeup that they look like plastic ghosts (which I'm guessing is supposed to be funny), no one can tell that the sisters are really brothers in disguise.

From that point on, the usual gags flow forth like stale water from a long broken pipe. There isn't one joke you haven't seen before in this sort of movie or others of its ilk. That includes the obligatory emergency bathroom scene that -- insert sarcasm here -- just keeps getting funnier the fiftieth and sixtieth time that I've now seen it.

But that doesn't prevent director Keenen Ivory Wayans ("A Low Down Dirty Shame," "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka") -- and fellow scribes Shawn Wayans & Marlon Wayans & Andy McElfresh (making his feature debut) & Michael Anthony Snowden ("Scary Movie 2") & Xavier Cook (making his feature debut) -- from throwing out the jokes in rapid fire succession. Most are obviously aimed at the likes of the Hilton Sisters, but any number of topics are targeted.

That shouldn't come as a surprise considering that Wayans the director also helmed the first two "Scary Movie" films. Yet, the results are consistently less successful here and prove that he hasn't gotten that spoof material out of his system as we're treated in a late in the game comedy bit spoofing "Carrie" (that closely follows a Björk swan-wearing gag).

Interestingly enough, the filmmakers don't go full bore into spoofing the standard "cop" plot, such as that involving another pair of partners being critical of the main characters. That obligatory element is present, but there's nothing funny about it or the "who would you rather do" jokes about imagined celebrity sex partners.

The performances by the likes of Shawn (the "Scary Movie" films) and Marlon ("The Ladykillers," "Requiem for a Dream") are exactly what you'd expect for an offering like this, but they're constantly upstaged by Terry Crews ("Starsky & Hutch," "Serving Sara") as a single-minded pro athlete who likes the titular subject. Even so, his material also gets old quite quickly, leaving one to wonder why anyone, including John Heard ("Cat People," "The Milagro Beanfield War"), signed on for this mess.

Considering that some of those present here were involved in one way or another with the Wayans' "In Living Color" TV show, it isn't a stretch to say that this feels like one of their short skits gone terribly awry and out of control. While those TV show segments were often hilarious and/or observant about social issues, little of that's present here and what is simply doesn't work.

Of course, if the notion of black guys dressed, acting like and interacting with spoiled white socialites sounds hilarious to you (along with explosive diarrhea, toenails bitten off and spit into wine glasses and a jealous harpy of a wife, etc.), this offering might be right up your alley.

On the other hand, if those ideas sound dumb, crass and/or crude, the film won't dash your expectations of being just that. "White Chicks" takes the concept of dumb comedy and, hard as it may be to fathom, sullies it. The film rates as a 2 out of 10.

Reviewed June 17, 2004 / Posted June 23, 2004

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