The Hot Chick

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The Hot Chick

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It would probably be a stretch to call Rob Schneider the David Cronenberg of slapstick, but it's striking how Schneider's ramshackle vehicles each explore characters in near-violent conflict with their own bodies. In Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Schneider plays a faux-male prostitute who teaches a gaggle of cartoonishly disabled women to love themselves and their bodies. In The Animal, he's a puny man-animal who takes on characteristics of a broad spectrum of creatures. And his latest, The Hot Chick, casts him as a boorish small-time crook who wakes up in the body of a perky high-school cheerleader. Dusting off the old body-switch template, which has spent a solid decade in high-concept purgatory, The Hot Chick opens with a joke-free prologue establishing the magical body-switching powers of a pair of earrings owned by an Egyptian princess. It then flashes forward to the present, where it inexplicably takes a full half-hour to establish a premise it could have gotten out of the way before the opening credits. Rachel McAdams co-stars as the high-school hottie who wakes up in Schneider's body and must learn to adjust to life as a hirsute, diminutive man. In the process, s/he learns the value of humility and fights off the unwanted advances of his/her mother and bi-curious best friend (Scary Movie's Anna Faris). Like friend, mentor, and patron Adam Sandler, Schneider makes movies that are essentially critic-proof, because they appeal directly and repeatedly to the basest instincts of the lowest common denominator. Schneider and director/co-writer/Animal vet Tom Brady continue to subscribe to the notion that any joke worth making is worth beating to death, but there's still something strangely endearing about Schneider's willingness to do anything for a laugh. Shamelessness and enthusiasm can only take a film so far, however, and anyone who doesn't think the prospect of Schneider playing a teenage girl is inherently hilarious will be in for an ordeal. Executive producer Sandler contributes an obligatory cameo, as does Dick Gregory, whose embarrassing turn as a bathroom attendant makes it likely that an entire generation will know the civil-rights activist and comedian mainly as the guy from that shitty Rob Schneider movie.

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