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White Chicks (2004)

Directed by:

Keenan Ivory Wayans

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 109 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

Country: United States

Seeing slapstick siblings Shawn and Marlon Wayans dolled up to look like passable socialite white girls is a pretty unnerving experience, but far, far scarier is the fact that it took SIX writers to dream up this middle-ranking sex-swap farce. You can’t help but wonder how many of them it would have taken to come up with a comedy that actually contained some humour stretching beyond yelling, dancing, singing and farting.

Under the directorship of big bro Keenan, the Wayans boys play bungling FBI agents Kevin and Marcus Copeland. Their latest assignment involves chaperoning a couple of It Girls (Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek) to a weekend-long party in the Hamptons, where inside intelligence has predicted a kidnapping-attempt is going to take place. But, via the most unbelievable set of circumstances, the girls are unable to make it – so our hapless heroes take it upon themselves to go in their places. Of course, that involves transforming themselves from six-foot-plus black guys into a pair of white, blonde, wannabe Hilton sisters. Sounds easy enough, right?

If you’ve ever seen gender-switch comedies like ‘Tootsie’ or ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ then you’ll know how most of it works. This sort of scenario always involves a bit of suspended disbelief (nobody ever suspects a thing, do they?), but asking us to believe that their friends think them to be the same two girls they’ve known for years really is stretching things a little.

There’s no invention involved here. The film takes a clutch of crude tried-and-tested stereotypes and clichés and runs with them for all they’re worth. To the Wayans’ credit, they play to their strengths by putting their seemingly limitless energy ahead of their distinctly limited material, and to be fair they’re not all that far from pulling it off. I did chuckle a couple of times, and the youngsters sitting behind me never seemed to tire of all those fart gags – but then again, youngsters never do.

It's Got: The dad from ‘Home Alone’. He’s looking really podgy these days.

It Needs: Some original laughs to match the Wayans’ enthusiasm.

Alternatives:

Mrs Doubtfire, The Hot Chick, True Identity

Summary

Stand them up – and not just because they’re really men (although that’s a fairly good reason in itself).

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