Hot Chick, The

star

A movie review by James Berardinelli



Hot Chick, The

COMEDY:

United States, 2002

U.S. Release Date:

2002-12-13

Running Length:

1:40

MPAA Classification:

PG-13 (Sexual Content, Profanity, Nudity)

Theatrical Aspect Ratio:

1.85:1

Cast:

Rob Schneider, Rachel McAdams, Anna Faris, Matthew Lawrence

Director:

Tom Brady

Screenplay:

Tom Brady & Rob Schneider

Cinematography:

Tim Shurstedt

Music:

John Debney

U.S. Distributor:

Touchstone Pictures

Subtitles:

none


One of the most depressing movie-going experiences I can think of is to sit through about 90 minutes of a so-called "comedy" and not laugh once. Unfortunately, that is becoming an all-too-common occurrence. Rob Schneider's The Hot Chick is the most recent example, but it's certainly not the only example. The problem isn't so much one of personal taste where humor is concerned, but a basic inability to make the material funny. I see all the jokes. I understand what the filmmakers want us to laugh at. But the delivery doesn't work. Unless you're a member of a certain demographic, "idiotic" and "moronic" do not equate to "hilarious." Why do audience members laugh when Rob Schneider takes a header down about 100 steps? Not because there's any real humor in the situation, but because the filmmakers expect viewers to laugh, and we have been programmed to laugh, even if that laughter is more of a knee-jerk reaction than something that bubbles up from deep within.

Admittedly, this is probably a deeper analysis of The Hot Chick than a throw-away piece of refuse like this deserves. It's a wretched attempt at entertainment, ephemerally redeemed only by the appearance of several attractive girls. To add insult to injury, not only is the movie seriously humor-deprived, but it actually attempts to do some moralizing/sermonizing . It's during these painfully inept stabs at drama that director Tom Brady displays how far in over his head he is. And the screenplay gives us dozens of unintentional howlers like "You don't need any guy to make you feel beautiful and special. All you need is you" and "You are the only boy who makes my heart beat faster and slower at the same time." In a parody situation, this kind of dialogue would fit nicely, but Brady expects us to take it seriously.

Plotwise, The Hot Chick employs the tired device of two people switching bodies. It seems that nine out of every ten times this idea is employed, it results in a disaster. (In fact, the only exception that comes to mind is Prelude to a Kiss, and that isn't a comedy.) An ancient spell causes high school cheerleader Jessica (Rachel McAdams) to swap bodies with derelict convict Clive (Schneider). In order to give Schneider more screen time, the movie largely ignores the story of Jessica-in-a-man's-body until late in the proceedings. So, for more than an hour, we are subjected to Schneider exhibiting all sorts of exaggerated female mannerisms that are as unfunny as the pratfalls and the uninspired gay jokes. Jessica manages to convince her best friend, April (Anna Faris), of her identity, followed by some other schoolmates and her boyfriend, Billy (Matthew Lawrence). Armed with information about how to reverse the spell, the small group sets off in search of Jessica's body.

I don't think I can ever recall Schneider being this far off the mark. His movies are typically good for a few mindless laughs, but the only comedy to be found in this film is unintentional. Adam Sandler fans expecting their hero to make a substantive appearance (as is hinted at in the trailers) will be disappointed. Sandler's participation is limited to a cameo (and an Executive Producer credit) and this could easily win the award for most irritating cameo in any 2002 motion picture.

Brady apparently was given the opportunity to direct the film after having written an earlier Schneider movie, The Animal. Based on the limited evidence available, he will not be soaring onto Hollywood's A-list any time soon. However, since there is probably a strong enough core audience for Schneider/Sandler movies, The Hot Chick may be able to make enough money to prolong his fledgling career. His pride is another matter. Anyone associated with producing a dog like this should be deeply ashamed.





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