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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Keenen Ivory Wayans
Cast:
Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Jaime King, Frankie Faison, Lochlyn Munro, John Heard, Busy Philipps, Terry Crews, Brittany Daniel
Writing Credits:
Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Andrew McElfresh, Michael Anthony Snowden, Xavier Cook

Tagline:
They're going deep undercover.

Synopsis:
From Keenan Ivory Wayans, the director of Scary Movie, comes White Chicks, a gender-bending, gut-busting comedy starring funnymen Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans.

What happens when two fumbling FBI agents disguise themselves as mega-rich princesses to infiltrate high society? Snap! It's frantic antics and nonstop hilarity as the brothers go from hapless G-men to haute couture G-strings ... with attitude! Groovin' tunes, hardcore jams and a sidesplitting disco dance-off with the bluebloods fuel outrageous laughs from start to finish in WHITE CHICKS - two brothers just keepin' it real. Sort of.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$19.676 million on 2726 screens.
Domestic Gross
$69.148 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 115 min.
Price: $28.95
Release Date: 10/26/2004

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Keenan Ivory Wayans and Actors Shawn and Marlon Wayans
• “How’d They Do That?” Makeup Featurette
• “A Wayans Comedy” Featurette
• “Encore: On the Set” Featurette
• Filmographies
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


White Chicks: Unrated and Uncut Edition (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 14, 2004)

Based on their trailers, some movies look so terrible that they almost become enticing. You watch the ads and think, “The flick can’t be that bad, can it?” 2004’s White Chicks fell into that category, as its promos made it look like a true train wreck of a comedy.

FBI agents Marcus (Marlon Wayans) and Kevin Copeland (Shawn Wayans) specialize in undercover operations that put them in disguise. This lands them in trouble with their boss, Chief Elliott Gordon (Frankie Faison), who disdains their renegade ways. Marcus also runs into trouble with his domineering wife Gina (Faune Chambers) while their cohorts Gomez (Eddie Velez) and Harper (Lochlyn Munro) mock them.

Those guys trick our leads into a socialite kidnapping case that requires them to watch after the Wilson sisters (Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek), the next potential targets. We soon see why no one else wanted to deal with them: they’re spoiled, snotty brats. When a dog-related car mishap slightly mars the girls’ facial features, they refuse to go out in public, which potentially ruins the sting operation.

Rather than admit to the chief that they messed another job, they take extreme measures. They get some makeup experts to transform them into doppelgangers for the sisters and then head to the Hamptons to fill in for them. This presents them with a mix of problems as they try to fit in with the social crowd. They need to blend with the sisters’ friends as they spar with their enemies, the Vandergeld sisters (Jaime King and Brittany Daniel). They also fend off advances by horny athlete Latrell Spencer (Terry Crews) while they also work on the kidnapping case.

In retrospect, I’m not sure why I bothered to recap the story of White Chicks. I can’t think of another film for which the plot is more inconsequential. In Hitchcock flicks, the MacGuffin was the item around which the tale seemed to revolve but which really didn’t matter much. For Chicks, the entire plot is a MacGuffin. The kidnapping conspiracy and the investigation couldn’t possibly be less important for this movie. Occasionally the flick pays them a little lip service, almost like the filmmakers periodically remembered that their movie was supposed to have a story. Otherwise, those elements exist for no reason other than to get some black guys to dress up like white women.

This means that Chicks lives and dies with the quality of its comedy. Most of the time the film forgets about the kidnapping plot, and even when it engages in that tale, it suffers from a slew of obvious inconsistencies. We’d easily ignore these if the movie provides good laughs, but unfortunately - and predictably - it doesn’t.

Oh, Chicks tosses out the occasional funny bit. One amusing line comes when the girls are on the beach and they talk about their different styles of bikini waxing; Marcus says he got the “Buckwheat”. Crews also provides some entertainment as Latrell, for the movie puts him in a slew of ridiculous situations that he plays well.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t know when to quit. Case in point: on a date with Latrell while in drag, Marcus tries to get the would-be lover off of his case with annoying behavior. His first attempt comes when he plays the Vanessa Carlton song heard earlier in the flick as the white girls’ “jam”. Latrell loves the tune, though, and giddily sings along with it. Crews digs into this moment and makes it funny - for a minute. The scene goes on too long, however, which undermines the comedy and makes it tedious.

It doesn’t help that we never remotely accept the Wayans brothers as white women. It’s a funny idea, but the creepy makeup never allows us to suspend disbelief. Actually, I suppose the audience isn’t supposed to forget that black men are under all that makeup, but we’re supposed to accept the concept that everyone else - even people who’ve known the real girls for years - buy our stars in drag. It doesn’t work, largely because the disguises just look scary. Granted, lots of older folks who’ve undergone severe plastic surgery don’t look much more human than the Wayans brothers, but I still was way too creeped out to ever see the film’s makeup as anything other than spooky.

While the racial angle gives Chicks a neat twist, it otherwise feels like a rehashed mélange of other sources. It borrows extremely heavily from Some Like It Hot and also lifts liberally from Mrs. Doubtfire and a mix of Eddie Murphy flicks. Don’t expect much creativity from this reheated nonsense.

I’ll admit that White Chicks offered more laughs than I expected. That’s partly because it throws so many gags at the screen that inevitably a few will stick. It’s also because I anticipated a legendarily bad flick, something Baby Geniuses bad, and movies that atrocious don’t come around very often. Nonetheless, while the film surpasses expectations, it still lacks much to make it enjoyable.

This DVD offers the film’s “unrated and uncut” version. I didn’t see the “PG-13” edition so I can’t cover every addition. However, I’d speculate that the vast majority of the “unrated” cut comes from a scene in which all the girls practice blowjobs with a large dildo. Don’t get excited; the scene’s played totally for laughs as it presents an absurd oral sex tutorial, which means it lacks any sexy footage. Nonetheless, it’s obvious it would have been inappropriate for a “PG-13” flick.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

White Chicks appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Good but not great, the picture mostly seemed more than acceptable.

Sharpness looked fine for the most part. A little softness interfered with wider shots, but that remained minor. The movie usually came across as accurate and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but some mild edge enhancement cropped up from time to time. Print flaws stayed minor. I saw an occasional speckle and a nick or two, but no significant issues caused problems.

Given its opulent settings, I expected a broad palette from Chicks, and that’s what I got. Mostly the colors worked well, and they often came across as nicely bright and dynamic. At times, however, the tones were a bit heavy. Blacks were nicely deep and firm, but shadows varied and could look too dense on occasion. The highs of Chicks kept it from dropping below a “B“, but the occasional concerns kept it from greatness.

While the picture of White Chicks didn’t live up to expectations, I got exactly what I expected from this sort of film. As usual for a comedy, the soundfield maintained an emphasis within the forward spectrum. There I heard good stereo separation to the music and nice delineation for the other elements. Most of the effects tended toward the ambient side of the equation, but a few scenes came to life in a more compelling manner. The smattering of action sequences were the broadest, such as the shoot-out at the movie’s start. However, most of the time, the track stayed light and breezy without much substance from the surrounds.

Audio quality appeared to be positive. Speech sounded crisp and natural, with no edginess or issues connected to intelligibility. Music and effects demonstrated fine clarity and they seemed distinctive, with good dynamics. The track presented bright and film sound from start to finish, and the louder bits knocked out some nice bass. Overall, the audio of Chicks was perfectly acceptable for this flick.

White Chicks comes with a mix of extras. First we find an audio commentary with director Keenan Ivory Wayans and actors Shawn and Marlon Wayans. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. Though the track starts out well, it soon runs low on energy. The trio mostly stick to an anecdotal look at the production, as they provide a lot of stories about the shoot. They talk about the cold weather during filming, deleted and changed scenes, reinstated additions for the uncut version, the actors, and makeup.

For the first act of the film, the three interact well and toss out a fair number of funny and informative tales. However, this energy quickly dissipates and the commentary becomes tedious. Lots of dead air infects the last half of the flick, and this ends up as a pretty mediocre track.

Next we find three featurettes. About the makeup, How’d They Do That? runs 11 minutes and 32 seconds. It presents movie bits, behind the scenes footage, and interviews with Keenan Ivory Wayans, special makeup creator Greg Cannom, cinematographer Steven Bernstein, and actors Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Anne Dudek, Busy Philipps, Jessica Cauffiel, Faune Chambers and Maitland Ward. The piece covers the basics of the makeup transformation for the main characters. We get notes about how they executed the makeup along with creative decisions and various impressions. It doesn’t give us tons of details on the technical issues, but it proves fun and informative nonetheless.

Subtitled “The Idea, Process and Humor”, A Wayans Comedy goes for 10 minutes, seven seconds. In it we hear from Keenen Ivory Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Cauffiel, Philipps, Chambers, and actors Drew Sidora, Jaime King and Terry Crews. They go into the genesis of the film’s idea, its tone, themes and approach, the characters and bringing the project to fruition. It’s a superficial piece that tells us little other than generic thoughts about some vague issues. Don’t expect to learn much here.

For the last featurette, we get Encore: On the Set. It lasts 14 minutes, one second and presents notes from Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Ward, Chambers, Philipps, King, Crews, Dudek, Cannom, actors Jennifer Carpenter and Rochelle Aytes, and producer Rick Alvarez. A promotional special, it acts as little more than a glorified trailer. It tells us a long story recap and includes many shots from the flick. Virtually all of the information connected to the film’s creation already appears elsewhere in identical snippets. Skip this generic program.

We find Filmographies for director Keenan Ivory Wayans plus actors Marlon and Shawn Wayans. When the DVD opens, it presents a few ads. We get clips for Are We There Yet?, Breakin’ All the Rules, You Got Served and Christmas With the Kranks. These also appear in the Previews area, where we find additional trailers for White Chicks, Hitch, Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Seinfeld, and Badasssss!.

If you expect a truly horrendous experience from White Chicks, you’ll probably leave disappointed, as the movie presents the occasional amusing nugget. However, if you anticipate anything better than that, you’ll also probably fail to feel satisfaction. The film suffers from very scattershot humor that rarely connects. The DVD presents pretty good but not exceptional audio and picture with a passable set of extras. A decent DVD for a mostly weak film, I can’t recommend White Chicks.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7457 Stars Number of Votes: 59
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