The Hot Chick (2002)

(On TV, March 2017) Body-swapping comedies are a weird enough subgenre, but gender-swapping comedies featuring Rob Schneider are all the way out there between “gross” and “really?” Still, there are a few surprises in this fifteen-year-old film—most notably seeing Rachel MacAdams (two years before her Mean Girls/Notebook breakthrough) slumming it up in the lead role as a popular high school girl who unwillingly swaps bodies with an older male petty criminal. McAdams is good, and so is Anna Faris in a supporting role … even though the rest of the film is almost unbearably dumb. I say almost because, for all of its sins, The Hot Chick can’t help but explore a bit of the gender-bending queerness (in the best sense of the word) that its premise would suggest. Those fleeting moments almost make The Hot Chick interesting on its own terms. Still, much of the movie clearly shows its Happy Madison lineage—at the time, Schneider was perhaps at the height of his fame as a comedian, and he didn’t get there by being clever or refined. Unbearable at times, almost interesting at others, The Hot Chick is perhaps best seen today as an early film for people who then did better … or faded away like Schneider.

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