There was something about the new movie "White Chicks" I couldn't resist. My optimism stemmed entirely from seeing the Wayans name attached, these guys never let me down. As a card-carrying white chick who can't understand why Martin Lawrence is famous, I depend on them to include me in on the jokes. The Wayans family never excludes me with their comedy, even when my kind are directly targeted.
Directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans and starring his brothers, Shawn and Marlon, we meet Kevin and Marcus, partners in the FBI, who are assigned to protect the famously blonde, spoiled Wilson sisters, Tiffany and Brittany, for a weekend in the Hamptons. Sparing you details that don't matter, they end up impersonating them instead. After intense makeovers, the two black men are bouncing and traipsing around Hamptons elite, winning them over with straight talk and phenomenal breakdancing abilities, flipping hair all the while.
One cannot watch this film and miss the direct influence of the 1959 classic "Some Like It Hot." Right down to the exact evening where the wackier of the two, Marcus/Jack Lemmon, is stuck on a date with a passionate wealthy admirer while the other, sexier, fellow, Kevin/Tony Curtis, goes on a date with the hot babe while borrowing the rich man's goods for the evening to impress the girl who doesn't realize she's already met this too-good-to-be-true man when he was a woman, earlier in the day.
"White Chicks" is heartily stocked with slapstick (particularly in the shopping scenes) and yet, there must always be a tender message – why is that? No worries, they actually cough up something useful about communication between the sexes and leave all the racial differences for the jokes, where they should be. Men and women are different: Big time! Blacks and whites are different: Yes, but in ways both can appreciate.
So many great scenes here mock all four sides: men, women, blacks, whites - no one escapes. At one point, the new and improved Wilson sisters are riding around in the convertible with their new Hampton homegirls when a bland pop hit comes on the radio. The real white girls break into song, forcing the sisters to sing words they just don't know. When the radio flips to rap, they suddenly know all the words, including the much-feared 'N-word.' Chastised by the girls, they shrug, "So what, there's no one around to hear." The entire car then cheerily resumes the base-driven ghetto-speak on their way to the mall.
"White Chicks" is a film that may not win any awards and, in fact, has already sparked debates about racism but it goes a long way in making a point. We live in a world ripe for satire, where someone like Paris Hilton is famous for being rich, blonde and slutty. Where does the ridiculousness end? It ends with Brittany and Tiffany and white girls everywhere should be grateful. The sloppy manners of the much too rich, marital commitment, unhealthy body image, bi-racial relations and well-worn stereotypes are all dissected here for our amusement so we can relax. Now . . . we can go shopping!
© 2004 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 6/16/04
USA - 2004