The New York Times had so little to say about Whiteout that they devoted the first quarter of their review to talking about the opening shower scene, which is apparently the only thing that caught their interest about the movie:
"The first thing Kate Beckinsale does in Whiteout is take a shower. This may be because her character, a United States marshal named Carrie Stetko, needs to rinse off the grime of Antarctica, where she is stationed. Or, as seems more likely, it may be because the filmmakers, realizing that she would be spending most of the movie swaddled in thick parkas and layers of thermal protection, felt that some audience members might enjoy seeing Ms. Beckinsale in her underwear and then out of it behind a strategically fogged glass door. Which is not to imply that the shower scene, interrupted by a knock at the door—'I'm in the shower,' Carrie cleverly replies—is more contrived or absurd than anything else that happens in this studiously mediocre little thriller, which was directed by Dominic Sena."
Now we love a good shower scene as much as the next person, but it would have been nice to see such a widely read mainstream publication talk about the fact that Whiteout is based on the Greg Rucka/Steve Lieber comic book and give us a little more background about, you know, the film. In fairness to them, they do mention the comic in the info box below the review, but only after they spend quite a bit of time talking about penguins ... which have absolutely nothing to do with the movie. We'd rate this review 1 out of 4 stars.
But then we suddenly noticed—The NY Times isn't the only one fascinated by Beckinsale's flash of skin. And some critics have even become so fixated on her underwear that they've structured their entire review around it, like Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel:
"Whiteout as a movie title might signify the whiter-than-white panties Kate Beckinsale treats us to about five minutes into her new thriller. But it doesn't. It suggests her English rose complexion and the milky white skin she bares in the Obligatory Kate Beckinsale Shower Scene, a staple of Kate's post-Underworld action films. But not really. What 'whiteout' refers to, in this indifferent thriller based on a grittier comic book, is that dark, wind-whipped blizzard that can blind you in the world's snowiest places."
Lindsey Ward of Sun Media also led off her review by bringing up Beckinsale's knickers:
"For a film that has a lot to do with freezing your bottom off in Antarctica, it sure doesn't take long for Whiteout star Kate Beckinsale to be stripped down to her knickers. Just seconds into the English actress' character, U. S. Marshall Carrie Stetko's first scene in the action-thriller, she enters her dorm at a male-dominated ice-field research station and proceeds to prepare for a steamy shower. She ditches that pesky parka, and soon all we can see—in closeup—is her booty-shorted bottom and bare back. It's a scene Underworld fan-boys will love, and many more viewers will just shake their heads at because, well, it has absolutely no relevance to the film."
Which got us to wondering—why is poor Whiteout taking the heat for nudity when there are so many other movies out there showing a similar amount of skin? Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly came up with the best reason we could find—that in this particular film, it just happened to be one cliché too many:
"A few naked guys streak outside during a party scene early in Whiteout. But other than that ... Kate Beckinsale is the only one who takes the time to strip down, enjoying a lingering shower before suiting up again (complete with a pretty, fur-trimmed hat) to face a well-insulated killer in this snow-based cartoon action thriller. I'm all for attractive actors of all sexes stripping down in cartoon action thrillers, and I support the right of movie stars to deduct the cost of personal trainers to keep them on-screen shower ready. I guess I was so struck by the superfluous skin shot because it's just so ... superfluous, and so clichéd, and one of so many cheerily cheesy clichés snowballed into one average movie."