CHIPS Review
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In TV’s classic cop show CHiPs, a couple of lovable cops motored their way into viewers homes each week as they worked to keep the California freeways safe. Now, writer/director Dax Shepard’s movie adaptation gives the biker cops plenty of big-screen action and a whole lot of low-brow humor.

CHIPS returns to the streets of Los Angeles with a couple of new misfits on motorcycles. Jon Baker (Shepard) is a pill-popping retired X Games pro who’s trying to start a new career to save his failing marriage. He failed almost every one of his tests as a cadet, but his motorcycle skills are above and beyond, so he’s put on probation and teamed up with new officer Francis Poncherello (Michael Peña), who’s actually an undercover FBI agent. And while Jon tries to do his best and keep his job, Ponch not-so-subtly hunts for a team of dirty cops.

Though fans of the original TV show are now in their forties and beyond, the humor in the adaptation is sophomoric and immature. It’s sex-obsessed and homophobic, with most of the jokes focused on Ponch’s overabundance of often inappropriate hook-ups, his weakness for women in tight yoga pants, and his debilitating discomfort with the anatomy of his fellow men. There’s some kind of a story here, but it’s overshadowed by the raunchy comedy. It’s all over-played and under-funny, with way more crotch shots than any movie needs.

The characters, meanwhile, are erratic and unpredictable. In the series, Jon was usually the straight-laced one, and Ponch was more of a wild card. Here, the characters’ personalities are hard to pin down. At times, Jon is super-serious about being a serious cop, and Ponch pushes him to lighten up and fit in. At other times, Jon seems to be a clueless slob, while Ponch is out digging for clues. They both seem to have their times to play the bumbling misfit who gets them both into trouble. Jon gets too personal and tends to overshare. Ponch tries too hard to be macho and is easily distracted by anything female.

Both of the stars have the ability to be lovable and funny—especially Peña, who steals scenes with even the smallest of roles. But, here, they tend to get lost in their characters’ cluelessness and immaturity.

It may have plenty of action and motorcycle stunts, but CHIPS focuses way too much on inconsistent characters and attempts at humor that just aren’t funny. Whether you loved the classic series or you’re new to the characters and their story, it’s best to stick with the old TV reruns.

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