The Austin Chronicle

The Hot Chick

Rated PG-13, 101 min. Directed by Tom Brady. Starring Rob Schneider, Anna Faris, Rachel McAdams, Robert Davi, Eric Christian Olsen, Matthew Lawrence, Melora Hardin, Angie Stone.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Dec. 13, 2002

Even when decked out as an 18-year-old high school girl, Rob Schneider is just as funny as he ever was. That's good news to his fans who gobbled him up in his two previous big-screen showcases as a gigolo and an animal. Others will just scratch their heads before dismissing the former SNLer's box-office popularity as one of the ultimate ineffabilities of the universe. The humor is definitely low-brow, and the movie's sex-switch hook is mined solely for physical gags rather than any commentary on the division of the sexes in modern life à la Victor/Victoria or somesuch. This lack of high ambition is not really a fault; however, one might expect that with such low goals the film might have at least hit its target more often than it does. Schneider's mugging is relentless and his constant need to suddenly transpose himself into another character undermines the story's continuity and progression. In addition to a teenage girl, Schneider also plays a Mexican gardener and a school janitor -- transpositions that make no narrative sense and carry the distinct scent of self-indulgence. A momentary prologue set amid some ancient civilization introduces the magical gegaw that centuries later unleashes the switcheroo that thrusts Schneider's modern-day petty thief into the body of sleeping teen Jessica (McAdams). The movie defies all practical and physical logic as Schneider camps his way through his newfound boyfriend and cheerleading troubles. Very little attention is meted out to the parallel storyline that follows what becomes of Jessica in her new role as a petty criminal. Fleeting cameos by executive producer Adam Sandler, singer Angie Stone, and comedian Dick Gregory (as a bathroom attendant!) can also be found. Schneider's female impersonation leaves enough male attributes intact to afford no threat to anyone. Mostly it just provides him enough ample opportunities to flounce around in girls' underwear and midriff-baring outfits that make him look more like some kind of dizzy club kid than any young woman. The fact that scenes don't cut together very well or that the movie has no plausibility whatsoever is not likely to deter Schneider's fans. Also gender-benders, no matter how flimsy their constructs, are also always welcome social additions. Despite there being no real "hot chick" in this flick, Schneider's wood is all over this 'hood.

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