Saturday, 9 February 2013

White Chicks (2004)

Last month, a bunch of girls at my school decided to organise a movie night, inside the school, to help them along with a hospitality course they were attending. In line with the course, they'd be preparing cinema munchies to sweeten the deal, and all for two pounds fifty. Not bad, you would think, and since it combined my two greatest loves of film and food, I snapped up a ticket before I even knew what the film choice would actually be. When it turned out the choice was between two gross-out comedies of the noughties, White Chicks and Stepbrothers, I remained cheerful, believing that something else would pop up on the night.

And would you believe it, something actually did! On entering the drama studio at the school, a makeshift cinema for the night, I found that the second Ace Ventura film was lying on the teacher's desk. That was a film I had on video as a youngster, and still manages to be relatively funny. This being a democracy, the film which we would end up watching fell to a vote after all the pleasantries and popcorn were handed out. I happily abstained, thinking Ace Ventura was about to come up. It never did. And totally inexplicably, the majority of the room went for something named 'White Chicks'.

It goes without saying, really, that White Chicks is one of the worst films I've ever seen. You could give a quick run down of the plot to Jedward (JEDWARD) and they could come up with a more satirical, mature and amusing script. The main joke of the film mocks transsexualism and transracialism, offering no more than the tired, awful stereotype of either group the story concerns: young, black, urban men and spoilt, dippy, blonde heiresses. Even Harold Camping would be able to predict where the plot goes, and the parts in which the film attempts a serious message about love are both embarassing and horrifically patronising to the audience. It insults many without even managing to be satirically offensive.

So why, then, did it win the vote? Why did I go home to check my Twitter and see schoolmates heaping praise on it, telling how watching White Chicks never fails to make them weep uncontrollably with laughter? I couldn't tell you definitively. I have no access to other people's senses of humour, unfortunately. What I could tell you, however, is that it is probably for the same reason that Tom Daley's diving knockout show, Splash!, has been recommissioned for a second series by ITV.

Enjoyment is something which, by its very definition, is pleasurable. It is, therefore, understandable that human beings should attempt to find enjoyment as often and as easily as possible, as it makes them feel a bit better about life and makes the forget (at least temporarily) about all the work they still have to do. In this case, it is very beneficial to the psyche to just relax, lower your intellect and let a film or TV show entertain you with jokes and displays that require no thought to understand and appeal to the deepest, most basic human processes of generalisation and humiliation. This is the reason people often only watch programmes such as The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent only at the audition stages. They allow you to make sweeping generalisations about the people taking part, and then let you enjoy seeing those generalisations justified.

I've done it, and it's not always a bad thing to do at all. If anything, it proves you're human, which is reassuring. You just have to be wary of it, as mental laziness won't get you very far. You just need to train yourself to snap out of it and not let it take over. That'll allow you to be entertained by the stuff you do have to think about, and that stuff is inevitably the stuff you will be most entertained by, and the stuff that you'll take the most away from.

It is that stuff, after all, that puts the 'Sapiens' in 'Homo Sapiens'. Enjoy White Chicks if you want to, it shouldn't do too much harm, just keep in mind that this is NOT the best the world of film has to offer. Get yourself out there, allow yourself to dedicate a bit of thought to a movie. You won't regret it, I promise.

Follow me on Twitter: @crunro

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