The Hot Chick (2002)

TOM BRADY

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 2002. , . Screenplay by , Tom Brady. Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Body swap concept comedy is blended with a cheeky take on teen romcoms in this incredibly silly film. It begins, as all great art does, in ancient Abyssinia where a princess and her maid switch bodies thanks to the power of a pair of supernaturally-gifted earrings. Move things along to modern day and we meet a clique of bitchy, popular high school girls (led by and ) who go to the mall and find the same earrings at a store selling rare antiquities (in a mall).

The girls stop for a gas on their way home while the station is being knocked over by a low-rent thief (), who manages to avoid their notice but get his hands on one of the earrings. In the morning it’s Schneider who wakes up in McAdams’ bed and vice versa, and now she has to explain to her best friends that she’s still the captain of the cheerleading team but trapped in a thirty year-old wild man’s body. Pretending to be her parents’ gardener and enjoying a very awkward reunion with her boyfriend (), McAdams within Schneider enlists her gang of friends to go on a search to figure out what caused this switch and find out how to get things back to normal.

Most of the cliched set-ups of the genre are lined up and knocked down with relative ease here, from the crotch jokes and gender-bending costuming to the inevitable lesson that the character learns about being nicer to the people she was always cruel to. Little of it is particularly funny, mostly just amusing, but some moments stand out: Faris falling in love with her best friend in his new form is inspired, Schneider bringing his parents (, ) back into deep love with each other is sweet, and the scenes of McAdams performing as if she has suddenly turned into a lowlife from the wrong part of town (which the movie makes the mistake of showing far too little of) are the film at its best.

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