It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Various combinations of the Wayans family have produced a lot of cutting-edge comedy, but "White Chicks" uses the broad side of the knife. Here is a film so dreary and conventional that it took an act of will to keep me in the theater. Who was it made for? Who will it play to? Is there really still a market for fart jokes?
Marlon and Shawn Wayans play Marcus and Kevin Copeland, brothers who are FBI agents. Fired after a sting goes wrong, they're given a second chance. Their assignment: Protect Tiffany and Brittany Wilson (Anne Dudek and Maitland Ward), high-society bimbos who seem to be the target of a kidnapping scheme. The girls get tiny cuts in a car crash and are too vain to attend a big society bash in the Hamptons. Marcus and Kevin have the answer: They'll disguise themselves as the Wilsons and attend the party in drag.
Uh, huh. They call in experts who supply them with latex face masks, which fool everybody in the Hamptons but looked to me uncannily like the big faces with the talking lips on Conan O'Brien. There is also the problem that they're about six inches taller than the Wilsons. I suppose they're supposed to be, I dunno, Paris and Nicky Hilton, but at least the Hiltons look like clones of humans, not exhibits in a third-rate wax museum.
The gag is not so much that black men are playing white women as that men learn to understand women by stepping into their shoes and dishing with their girlfriends. Womanhood in this version involves not empowerment and liberation, but shopping, trading makeup and perfume tips, and checking out the cute guys at the party.