Hot Chick, The

The Hot Chick (12A)

Saturday Night Live has been the birthplace of some fine comedians over the last 28 years, among them John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Mike Myers, Bill Murray and Ben Stiller.

Not all of them have made the successful transition to movies, and even those that have enjoyed progressive hits (such as Murphy, Murray, Myers and Stiller) have experienced the occasional box office stiff.

Rob Schneider, star, producer and co-writer of The Hot Chick, has fared worse than most. After supporting turns opposite Stallone in Demolition Man and Judge Dredd there followed a fruitful association with juvenile humour king Adam Sandler that has seen him cropping up in almost all of Sandler’s low-brow smashes.

What’s more, Sandler has returned the favour in movies like The Animal. He does it again in The Hot Chick in an uncredited cameo as a spaced-out dreadlocked hippy in what turns out to be this lame comedy’s unfunniest moment.

The plot line – the latest in a string of blue collar comedies that sees Schneider’s central character undergoing a transformation – focuses on snotty cheerleader Jessica (Rachel McAdams) who, after stealing a pair of mystic earrings from a shop, somehow manages to switch bodies with a neanderthal petty criminal (Schneider).

She wakes up with bad hair, stubble, body odour and a penis. He wakes up inside the body of a babe with blonde locks, pert breasts and a cheerleader’s lithe legs. And here’s where the story goes terribly wrong.

Schneider decides to make himself the focus of the tale, hogging the limelight, as he plays fey, bitchy, camp and snooty as a Little Miss Perfect trapped in a bloke’s body. As for Jessica as a man, the entire concept is abandoned wholesale – odd given that’s where most of the laughs should come from.

As the storyline progresses The Hot Chick begins to resemble a cross between Tootsie and Big as director/co-writer Tom Brady, previously a writer on The Simpsons and a director on TV’s Home Improvement, totally loses his way.

The mix of juvenile, violent and scatological humour – the funniest sequences involve Schneider, as a girl, trying to pee, falling down a set of steps (twice) and head-butting a love rival – is everything we have come to expect from the Sandler stable. Sadly it appears that Schneider has fallen into the same bracket.

The Hot Chick could have been an acceptable blend of comedy and pathos if Schneider had been brave enough to split the screen time between himself and McAdams, who is introduced and then sidelined. It’s a perfect example of a D-grade performer not having the confidence to share, and then coming a cropper.

Personally, I’d have preferred the 18 certificate version – the one where the guy in the girl’s body experiments, explores and excites, rather than this limp and frightened excuse for a body-swap flick which showcases the tired routine of a very fourth rate comic.

Star rating: *

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