Review: Lazy ‘CHiPs’ has all the excitement of a rerun
Dull action-comedy funnels its TV source material through an R-rated filter
“CHiPs” is a dull, lazy piece of rude-talking bro cinema, the movie equivalent of flipping through a motocross magazine while overhearing the locker room talk of two teenage boys. Not that its source material was Shakespeare, but compared to the movie, the original late-’70s/early-’80s TV show is “Twelfth Night.”
“CHiPs” follows a mismatched pair of Southern California motorcycle cops who say “bro” a lot while trying to take down a ring of dirty police officers.
Writer-director Dax Shepard plays Jon Baker, an ex-motocross rider who saddles up to be the police force’s oldest rookie. Michael Peña is Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, an FBI agent who goes undercover in the California Highway Patrol to investigate a bunch of corrupt cops.
Successful action comedies have been mined from much less. But “CHiPs” is bereft of spirit as it goes through the motions, and Shepard and Peña have the on-screen chemistry of an oven mitt and a hammer.
Ponch, a ladies man on the original show, is now a full-blown sex addict, and he comes off like a pervy creep. It’s not a great look. And the film’s raunchy gags — including one scene where Ponch is forced to carry a naked Baker into his bathroom — feel like warmed over bits from a straight-to-DVD “American Pie” sequel.
The entire enterprise feels rudderless, like there’s nothing at stake and not even the characters are invested in what’s going on. “CHiPs” seems like it was made to be watched in small increments while flipping through the channels on cable TV while sitting on the couch in your underwear. It already feels like a rerun.
Rated R for crude sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, some violence and drug use
Running time: 101 minutes