“CHiPs” stars Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Brody, and Kristen Bell. Released on March 24, 2017, the film has two motorcycle officers facing off against an ex-cop and his hitmen who are wrecking havoc throughout California.
The film is directed by Dax Shepard, who also directed Brother’s Justice and Hit and Run. It is based on the 1977 television series of the same name created by Rick Rosner. Once again, we have a film adaptation of a television show that I am not familiar with. Despite that, the trailers do depict this as something that might please those who are into action comedies. The last time I saw an R-rated action comedy that’s based on a television show before my time was 21 Jump Street, and it turned out better than a lot of people expected. Let’s see if this one can do the same.
If there’s one thing that I could give the film credit for, it would be the performances, most notably Michael Pena. Pena plays Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, an FBI agent who goes undercover as an officer at CHP to catch an ex-cop and his band of corrupt cops. While Dax Shepard does his part as an actor/writer/director, he somehow makes it really hard for me to like the character he’s portraying. In fact, there were plenty of opportunities for this film to offer some development for the main characters, but they threw it all away in favor of motorcycle chases (which were the only parts of the film that were at least entertaining) and a bunch of R-rated jokes. The plot follows the same old buddy cop routine that doesn’t seem to get any better as the film progresses, which could lead to some predictable and repetitive moments, such as the bickering between Shepard and Pena. One of the reasons why I went to see this film is the humor. Most of the R-rated comedies I’ve seen have plenty of funny moments that worked for me. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. I did find a few scenes that were quite funny, but the humor, as a whole, was about as stale as a bag of expired potato chips. I know it’s not a film about actual chips, but I had to include a “chips” reference somewhere because of the title. This is something that actually disappointed me the most because the amount of humor that was shown in the final cut didn’t make that much of an impact as it was portrayed in the trailers.
Overall, Dax Shepard’s R-rated take on “CHiPs” tried way too hard to become the next 21 Jump Street, resulting in a formulaic plot, weak and/or unlikable characters, and its underwhelming humor. The film is like any other buddy comedy that we’ve seen on television or on the big screen numerous times. The only difference is its flaws that were listed above. If you’re a fan of the source material, I highly doubt that you’re going to enjoy this film. But, if you’re still curious about seeing it, I suggest you keep your expectations at a minimum just in case. If you liked it more than I did, then hey, good for you. Don’t let my review spoil your fun. Here’s hoping that Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron can make a decent R-rated adaptation out of Baywatch when it comes out in May.