The Hot Chick

2002, Movie, PG-13, 100 mins

Review

HOT CHICK, THE
starstarstarstar
If you pitch your expectations at an all time low, you could do worse than this oddly cheerful — but not particularly funny — body-switching farce, co-written by and starring Rob Schneider. A brief prologue whisks us back to Abyssinia, circa 50 B.C., where an unlucky princess (Shazia) saves herself from her impending marriage to a slobbering king (Osman Soykut) by sharing a pair of magic drop earrings with a servant girl (Vivian Corado). Each dons one of the enchanted baubles, and their souls switch bodies, freeing the princess from her fate. Cut to present-day California, where one of those earrings now dangles from the shapely lobe of Jessica (Rachel McAdams), Bridgetown High's head cheerleader and an expert at humiliating those less pretty and popular than herself. The other earring winds up in the possession of a greasy petty thief (Schneider), who can't resist trying it on. The next morning, 18-year-old Jessica wakes to find herself trapped inside a 30-year-old man's body, complete with B.O., three-day stubble and — gasp! — a penis. Luckily, Jessica's cheerleading posse, headed by her best friend, April (rather appealingly played by Anna Faris), don't have much difficulty accepting the bizarre fact that deep inside this altogether unappetizing package lives their best, bitchiest friend, and together they go looking for Jessica's real body (which, it turns out, is now stripping at a local bar and rolling johns in alleyways). Their search leads Jessica to make nice with all the people she once tortured, fix her parents' failing marriage and teach anyone who'll listen a nauseating number of life lessons. Aside from timely references to the bad habits of Winona Ryder and sexually abusive priests, none of this is particularly fresh. There's a certain contrived sweetness to the whole business, in that the film preaches a general acceptance of other people's differences. But at the same time, it supposes the worst about what its audience is going to find funny, and the script is tainted by dumb racial stereotypes and a particularly violent brand of slapstick that too often finds women on the receiving end. Unlike, say, Steve Martin, who was forced to share his body with Lily Tomlin in ALL OF ME (1984), Schneider never quite gets a hold of his character; he basically plays the mincing sissy, whining in a high, breathy voice and swishing about in clogs and a neck scarf. Adam Sandler, who also served as executive producer, makes an uncredited — and surprisingly unfunny — appearance as a dreadlocked store clerk. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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