In my opinion, the special makeup effects of the comedy White Chicks (2004) were not very believable. The movie tells the story of two FBI agents and brothers, Kevin and Marcus, played by actors Shawn and Marlon Wayans respectively, who go under cover in attempts to protect two famous socialite sisters named Brittany and Tiffany Wilson from being kidnapped. In order to keep their jobs, the two African-American agents have to disguise themselves as the two white sisters.
Special makeup effects were utilized in order to accomplish Kevin and Marcus’ transformation from men to young women; unfortunately, the prosthetic makeup in the movie was simply unconvincing. Special artists combined their knowledge of makeup and hair work use the technique of mold making with synthetic materials, such as latex and silicone, in order to create the fake masks and body suits for the brothers. Suddenly, the two African Americans appeared to have white faces, blonde hair, and a feminine figure.
I deem that the genre of White Chicks is what allows the special makeup effects to lack in believability. Throughout the movie, no one suspects the newly created “white chicks” to be men (even though their voices were significantly deeper). Brittany and Tiffany’s best friends cannot even tell that the two FBI agents are acting as the sisters. I think it was distasteful of the director to decide to make the two transformations so obvious because it negatively affects the logos of the movie.
In the book, Everything’s An Argument, Andrea Lunsford says “you can use emotional appeals to make logical claims stronger or more memorable” (46). This applies to the special make up effects in the movie because the humor of the bad makeup is what helps its credibility, logos. I think a lot of critics did not like White Chicks because it appeared that the artists did not try their best to completely make the men look like women; rather, it seemed that they wanted it to be clear the fake Brittany and Tiffany were actually men.
As Lunsford reinforces, “it is hard to say no when you’re laughing” (48). I agree with this statement with regard to this movie in particular because the two characters are still very funny in the movie. They appear to be white, yet the way they carry themselves and certain things they say are characteristic of an African American male. This provides an ironic tone to the movie, which certain audiences can find humorous.
The special effects makeup in White Chicks would simply not be acceptable in a movie that was intended to be a serious, sci-fi movie. The makeup would not be suitable enough to impress an audience that expects something realistic. Perhaps the transparency of the makeup adds to the humor of the movie, as it is clear the two “white chicks” are actually men. Despite the heavy criticism of the movie, I believe that it was the intention of the director to make the special effects as unbelievable as they were.