Hot Chick
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // $29.99 // May 13, 2003
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 7, 2003
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Graphical Version
The Movie:

"The Hot Chick" starts off with a scene in ancient Egypt, where two women switch bodies via a magical earring. One is unhappy in her marriage, so she lets the servant continue in her life of wealth. In present day, the earrings have ended up in a mall store, and are taken by Jessica Spencer (Rachel McAdams), a popular student who think the earrings would be great for the prom.

Jessica and her friends run into low-level convict Clive as he's in the middle of holding up a gas station for a little less than twenty bucks and some nachos. When Clive gets a hold of one of her earrings and puts it on, the two wake up the next day having switched bodies. Oddly enough, the picture then focuses entirely on the experience of Clive as Jessica, as she/he has to convince friends like April (Anna Faris of "Scary Movie", funnier than Schneider) that she's really a teenage girl in a 30-year-old man's body. Aside from a scene later in the movie, we don't find out what Clive has been doing with Jessica's body.

Schneider's previous two features have certainly been nothing too memorable, but they've provided a few good laughs, some mindless fun and occasionally, a bit of a message. "The Hot Chick", on the other hand, only manages to find laughs with a few scenes of Schneider falling - as we learn in the commentary track, Schneider actually took the fall down metal stands at a football field for hours one day, then went back and did it again when one of the cameramen realized the scene wasn't shot properly. On the other hand, the film doesn't find anything inspired out of its core concept (although there's the plot, most of the movie feels like a generic gross-out comedy), and the times when it tries to throw some heart into the mix aren't convincing.

Schneider tries to force the laughs here and his timing isn't as good as either his prior pictures or his SNL years. The most impressive performance in the film is easily from Anna Faris ("Scary Movie"), who is wonderfully sweet and quite funny as April. She also has this sort of wide-eyed, energetic delivery that I like. Like former Schneider co-star Colleen Haskell (who offered a wonderful performance in "The Animal"), Faris could be carrying her own films. McAdams could be a decent talent, but the movie essentially - and strangely - just drops her through the middle of the picture. Of course, Adam Sandler turns up in a cameo - this time, as a stoned drummer.

Schneider can be funny enough and I can appreciate a film that's just pure silly laughs, but this one really didn't work for me. I didn't hate sitting through it and it passed by quickly enough, but it was just pretty mediocre and could have been better if something more inspired and less lowbrow could have been done with the idea.


The DVD

VIDEO: "The Hot Chick" is presented by Buena Vista in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Amazingly enough, the transfer actually looks superb. Sharpness and detail are quite nice, as the image never shows any inconsistencies or noticable softness. There's even decent depth to the image at times. A little bit of edge enhancement pops up at times, but really doesn't cause any harm to the viewing experience. The vivid color palette is generally well-reproduced, and the print looked fine.

SOUND: "The Hot Chick" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Although a few scenes put the surrounds to slight use for music, the mix is otherwise a front-heavy one. Although the majority of the movie is interiors with no particular use for surrounds, there are a few scenes where some slight ambience wouldn't have hurt.

EXTRAS:

Deleted Scenes: The DVD includes 15 deleted scenes, presented in rough form and with no optional commentary. Most of these scenes aren't particularly entertaining, although a storyline about one of the school's janitors (played by "Mad TV"'s brilliant Will Sasso) is fairly amusing. There's also an alternate ending (where McAdams does Schneider's "You Can Do It!" cheer from other pictures he's starred in) and some other bits of business, none of which are of much interest.

Commentary: This is a commentary from director Tom Brady. Brady starts off the commentary well enough, jokingly calling the film a "shrewd morality tale", but after some funny moments early on, the director too often falls back towards just offering basic praise for the stars and talking about how well aspects of the movie work.

Featurettes: Several rather bland featurettes can be found in the "Yearbook" section - "Becoming Clive", "Becoming Jessica", "Guest Speakers" (talking about how Sandler was brought in for a cameo and how several others appeared for smallish roles), "The Hot Chicks" and "Physical Education". They all seem like they were one documentary simply cut into a few parts. While there are a few moments of low-key fun scattered throughout, there's a lot of padding on these featurettes and none of them are really worth sitting through.

Final Thoughts: I still get a laugh out of "The Animal", but Schneider tries too hard to get laughs here and there's just not that much comedy to be mined from this script. The DVD is a fine edition, with good audio/video quality and some decent supplements. Fans of the film already considering a purchase of the DVD should do so, while those who haven't seen it should only consider a rental, at most.



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