Thursday, March 23, 2017

CHiPs: Movie Review

An action comedy too obsessed with sex jokes.

I haven’t seen the original CHiPs, but I don’t think that matters at all as I doubt this bears any resemblance other than the primary set-up. This CHiPs is a raunchy, buddy, action comedy. I was trying to decide what order those adjectives should go in, but it doesn’t really matter since they are all equally-weighted. Take that as you may, but I’m not convinced a movie should spend just as much time on ass jokes as it does on anything else. 2017

Directed by: Dax Shepard

Screenplay by: Dax Shepard

Starring: Michael Pena, Dax Shepard

The obsession with sex really doesn’t do the film any favours because there could have been a good movie in there somewhere – note that I did say something similar about Fist Fight, but the good movie here is harder to find. Our two heroes are Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) and Frank Poncherello (Michael Pena). There’s something very endearing about Shepard’s Jon Baker, a former professional X-games motorbike champion who enters the California Highway Patrol exam in hopes to become a cop like his ex-wife’s father was. Jon isn’t the smartest guy around, but he’s also not the dumbest. He knows pop psychology since he has retained a lot from his therapy sessions and he knows a lot about motorcycles, and he has a decent analytical side to work out problems that aren’t right in front of him. It’s naïve, but sweet, that he thinks he can win back his wife (hot wife – Kristen Bell) who has literally moved on with another guy right in front of him.

Pena’s Ponch is the one obsessed with sex. Since his character is the one that gives license to the film to make as many soft-core porn jokes as possible, it took me a lot longer to warm up to him. Eventually it’s clear that Pena does great work with this character, it’s just that it’s too hard to care.
Poncherello is an undercover FBI agent sent to investigate a heist, a possible inside job in the California Highway Patrol and determine who the dirty cops are. He’s paired with incompetent rookie Baker – incompetent in many aspects, but a damn good motorcyclist. In a strange move, but one that I don’t think hurt the film any more than anything else in the film did, we figure out who the bad guys are very early on, and Ponch’s FBI status is revealed to the other characters shortly thereafter.

The action and the motorcycle stunts were pretty good even if they did drag out the film a bit more than necessary – we did after all know who did what, when and why from the very beginning, and it’s not like Ponch and Baker were all that far behind. It took them longer though because they had to stop and make poop jokes, ass jokes, and sex jokes until you just can’t take it anymore. The film then took a turn for the worse when it decided one character had to die a very gruesome death. I personally didn’t feel he had to die at all, and wanted to see more of him, but apparently, the entire point of this film was to appeal to fourteen-year-old boys.

Ultimately CHiPs is a film where its target audience can’t even get in to see it because they loaded it down with too many profane jokes, shots of naked women, and gory deaths. The exact same things which stop it from being a better movie.