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Friday, March 31, 2017

CHiPs 2017 * 1/2 Stars

CHiPsDirector: Dax Shepard
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Vincent D'Onofrio

Cool cars, explosions, wire decapitations, men calling women d*cks and a-holes. Yeah it's all here in the stupefied reboot of CHiPs (my latest review).

Anyway, after seeing 2012's Hit and Run, I didn't think Hollywood had it in them to greenlight another Dax Shepard movie. I was mistaken. Here we are in the present where CHiPs has Shepard as writer, producer, director, possible stuntman, and star.

Dax Shepard, who might be the rude, cinematic stepchild of Hal Needham, plays Jon A. Baker. Baker is a guy who on a whim, makes the California Highway Patrol as a probationary officer. He loves to load up on Arby's, he pops tons of pills, and his disposition is altogether feminine. Baker joins the CHP in order to impress his snobby spouse who separated from him. In reality, this dimwitted buffoon wouldn't have a chance at being a real cop. Trust me. The big oaf can't even shoot straight.

With the addition of Shepard's wife (Kristin Bell) being featured in a small role and some in your face motorcycle chases, CHiPs might be the ultimate ego trip for Dax (as a kid I guess he was always a fan of things with a motor). My thinking is that Shepard could get by as a character actor but he should never be able to have full control over a film again.

So OK, you're curious to why I'm obviously panning CHiPs. Well it's unnecessary, assembly line junk. For one thing, CHiPs has literally nothing to do with the TV show it's based upon. The only similarities are the main character's names (Francis "Ponch" Poncherello and Jon Baker), the warm Cali setting, and the faint sounds of a modern day CHiPs theme playing in the background. In truth, if you were a fan of said show which ran from 1977-1983, CHiPs the movie will come off as a complete insult to your fandom. Sadly there were five people at the CHiPs screening I was at. I'm sure they all felt the same way.

Now according to its wiki page, CHiPs the TV show was categorized as a action crime dramedy. Shepard's movie on the other hand, is just another raunchy, R-rated claptrap that doesn't deserve the CHiPs name. Heck, it probably should've garnered a separate title altogether. Oh and you gotta wonder why Michael Pena, an actor who appeared in Academy Award stuff like Crash, Million Dollar Baby, and Babel, would agree to co-star alongside Shepard. He obviously didn't read the screenplay and owed Shep a favor.

Image result for CHiPs 2017 movie scenesSpeaking of Dax Shepard's script, well it's patchy, vexatious, and painfully unfunny. There's no genuine comic timing between the actors in CHiPs. Their jokes and/or quips have no meaningful payoffs. Shepard would rather his movie concentrate more on the aspects of homophobia, masturbation, colitis, tossing salad (don't ask), or chopper equipment than actual police work (or a story which CHiPs clearly doesn't have). Vincent D'Onofrio and Jessica McNamee play two of the many villains in CHiPs. But because this flick is so poorly edited, you clearly don't know what criminal activities they committed in order for everyone to wanna hunt them down.

All in all, CHiPs concludes with none other than the TV show's original star, Erik Estrada. He makes a small cameo in the back of an ambulance. He too talks about tossing salad (a slang term for eating one's anus) in his five minutes of screen time. Tragic. His co-star (Larry Wilcox) from back in the day, didn't appear in the movie version of CHiPs. Good move Larry. You're better for it. Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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