Question: who asked for this? Because clearly everybody was clamoring for an R-rated remake of CHiPs. And who’s a better person to helm this film than director/writer Dax Shepard? In this case, it wasn’t going to be a good movie in the first place for being a buddy cop comedy that fails so hard.
Jon Baker (Shepard) and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Pena) have just joined the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles, but for very different reasons. Baker is a former motorbike rider who’s trying to put his life and marriage back together. They must work together to see who’s involved with these crimes.
Like most television shows from the ’70s or ’80s, this is coming from someone who has never watched the classic show as I knew very little except it was an action drama about two patrol cops with Erik Estrada as one of them. Maybe in retrospect, the idea of a CHiPs movie might sound good in the 90s or early 2000s, but nobody wanted this adaptation to happen. I hated the trailers as they were a big sell for me as it didn’t look funny at all and it’s trying to go that 21 Jump Street route by making it into a comedy. And it succeeded into one of the worst TV adaptations translated to screen since The Dukes of Hazzard.
I’m not a fan of Shepard as I don’t think he’s that funny. Although, I heard he was pretty good on Parenthood. But in films, he’s isn’t good. As this is his follow-up to 2012’s dumb comedy Hit & Run, it seems stupid to have him write and direct a CHiPs movie. So, it proves anybody who comes out of Punk’d isn’t coming up big. But he does a terrible job directing the action scenes. He’s not capable of directing because it’s not exciting anytime it happens. Is he a fan of the show? Because it does seem like he respected the source material he was given to show here.
He also was annoying as John Baker, and even though he’s trying to come off as likable, it’s pretty much the opposite as I thought he was a complete dumbass. He keeps mentioning that he wants to get back together with his ex-wife (Kristen Bell, of course), and it’s like we actually care about that, but don’t. Did he want to do this to show off his motorcycle skills? Pena is an FBI agent who’s a sex addict every time he sees a sexy woman (which those jokes got repetitive so fast). If there any positive I can say about this movie was Pena. He tried his hardest with what he’s given in this garbage.
If this movie isn’t at least good, it has to hinge on the chemistry between Pena and Shephard, and it doesn’t show here. Their onscreen chemistry wasn’t there all the way through. Almost for a majority of the film, they hate each other, which is buddy cop 101, and they didn’t try on a large amount. The film is basically as cliché buddy cop film that isn’t on par with any of good movies that are worth watching after it’s done.
The jokes are so badly written and not funny. There’s nothing clever about constant dick jokes or homophobic jokes. Any time a comedy has to sit on a joke for more than 30 sec. isn’t funny. For example, there’s a scene where Ponch talked to Baker about eating a girl’s ass for about a minute. Not an instance where there was even a smirk as it an irritated expression upon watching to unfold.
All of this is grounded by a story that you don’t care about and it’s predictable along with plot points that disappear and never come back. This isn’t for anybody who likes to laugh. If it wasn’t Shepard who wrote and directed this film, it would’ve been better, in my opinion. But instead, we get a comedy from an actor who isn’t good with either talent. Just watch 21 Jump Street or Starsky & Hutch.
In the end, CHiPs doesn’t bring any sort of nostalgia for anybody who watched the show as this whole movie isn’t funny, edited poorly, terribly written, and no need for this to be made.
CHiPs incompetently insults the 70s television show with lazy lowbrow humor and no chemistry between Shepard and Pena.