OK, White Chicks may not exactly knock your Jimmy Choos off, but stars Shawn and Marlon Wayans are so mesmerizing in their Juicy Couture you'll practically forget all about the lame storyline.
After FBI agents Kevin (Shawn Wayans) and Marcus (Marlon Wayans) Copeland botch an undercover sting operation at a local NYC grocer, they get relegated to acting as chauffeurs on their next assignment. The mission? To pick up heiresses Tiffany and Brittany Wilson from the airport and drive them to the Hamptons, where the bureau will tail the socialites who are believed to be targets in a kidnapping plot. But it seems these two bungling agents can't even get this simple task right, and they end up flipping the SUV over. Tiffany and Brittany refuse to go to the Hamptons with their faces scraped up and decide to recover in Manhattan. To avoid getting chewed out by the bureau chief yet again, Marcus and Kevin decide to impersonate the heiresses and foil the kidnapping plot themselves. They call an in FBI buddy who happens to be a makeup genius and voila: the White Chicks are born. And with everyone getting collagen lip-enhancements, the Copeland brothers are easily able to pass themselves off as the Wilson sisters. Don't worry too much about the plot; you'll be so fascinated by the Wayans in whiteface that you'll forget all about it.
Hilarious and rarely stepping out of character, Shawn Wayan makes it easy to believe he's a white socialite, clarifying his masculine mishaps such as chasing down a mugger with quips like, ''It's not just a bag, it's Prada.'' And although both the Wayans make impressive white chicks, Shawn definitely has the advantage in the physical department. As Brittany in the beach scene, Shawn looks stunning in a mint-green sarong and a matching Pucci-inspired bathing suit, and doesn't like any more manly than say, Madonna. It's not surprising considering both actors dropped about 30 pounds each for the parts. Marlon Wayans, meanwhile, plays the role of Tiffany, they more demure of the two sisters. Although the Wayans do resort to some hackneyed gender bending gags, including a predictable date with an oversexed, clueless male and the perils of a big chest, the characters remain endearing because of the clichéd yarn they avoid. Although there is an all-girl sleepover party, for example, Brittany and Tiffany interact with their female friends in a very sweet manner rather than plot to get them out of their nighties and into the sack.
With too many writers to rattle off, it's no wonder White Chicks' plot is so spotty. Getting top writing credits is director Keenen Ivory Wayans, who manages to deliver a pretty hilarious comedy despite its really stupid storyline. One of the main reasons this film works is seeing the Wayans brothers in their special effects makeup, which was done by Keith Vanderlaan and Greg Cannom. But unlike Cannom's work on Mrs. Doubtfire, the Wayans feminine alter egos look womanly rather than drag queeny, with their angular features molded into surprisingly soft ones. Don't be surprised if you find yourself overly preoccupied by the Wayans' appearance, constantly looking for telltale signs of where the masks end or where the makeup doesn't blend right. There are also a few really funny scenes to distract you from the Wayans' faces, including a club dance-off to Run D.M.C.'s ''It's Tricky'' and a mother-dissing match (''Oh my God, you wanna talk about mothers?'' Shawn exclaims.) But once the plot is resolved and the stars are back in their own skin, moviegoers will snap back into the moment and realize, ''Oh, right--there was a story behind all of this.''
White Chicks is not likely to be the most clever comedy you'll see this year but at least it's not offensive. Think of it as a guilty pleasure; you're guaranteed to get some hardy laughs out of it.