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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Movie Review- CHIPS

What do you do when these crotches have more chemistry than its characters?

"I'm just like kinda powerless when it comes to yoga pants, ya know!"

When adapting a classic television series into a modern day big screen motion picture, it's generally important to bring some of that familiar formula back with it. For sure, films like Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) The Addams Family (1991), The Fugitive (1993), Mission: Impossible (1996), The A-Team (2010), and 21 Jump Street (2012), all upped their production values for bigger badder experiences but hey, that's how we like it. Other adaptations had some charm to them in one way or another like Lost in Space (1998), Wild Wild West (1999), Get Smart (2008), and Dark Shadows (2012), though I do sometimes forget that they even exist. And then there's the travesties. Most annoying to me are those movies that somehow didn't get the memo when it came to the proper execution of honoring their source material. Bewitched (2005), Aeon Flux (2005), the Transformers sequels (2009, 2011, 2014), and The Smurfs (2011), are by far the most disappointing turds to my nostalgic tastes. Just do it right or leave the shit alone!

CHIPS

If a movie sucks so bad that you can't remember much more than what was seen in the trailers, does it mean that you really even saw it? CHIPS is a watchable adaptation of the 1977 to 1983 series that ran on tv, yet it's almost like a lie has been fed to us that says that this is based on said show. If you take away the title, the dubstep mixing of the original theme score, and an uncomfortably perverted cameo by the original "Ponch" of Erik Estrada, this film could not justifiably be called that. This film is like the shitty plot for Ride Along 3 (you know it's coming), but amped up to be a Jump Street wannabe. It's better than the former, yet no where near as intelligent, funny, and charismatic as the latter. Besides a couple of dude moments that border on sexual insecurity, the only attribute is the film's attention-grabbing cinematography of Los Angeles and surrounding areas, especially the freeway scenes. Hell, every plot, scenario, and interaction, registers as forced and fake. That is until that brief moment when the two leads actually stop bullshitting each other.

Kudos to Dax Shepard (Zathura) for stepping up and taking the writing, directing, and starring, duties on CHIPS. However my inevitable "but" is going to indicate that he probably should've picked one category and excelled with that only. Because this film's focus is all over the place. It spends so much time setting up the ridiculous premise, that it has to back it up with even more pointless subplots so that we don't notice and flip the bird while asking for our money back. Shepard's geriatric-like injuries and condition make it impossible to take his acceptance into the CHP believable. Also his undercover partner played by the always energetic Michael Pena (Observe and Report), is given a lame excuse by his 1980's style boss who's always yelling and forever unsatisfied (Isiah Whitlock Jr., The Wire), to go to L.A. and single-handedly catch the bad guys while also dealing with a sexual addiction. Sure, I'll buy that. But don't you think it would have made more sense to delve more into his potentially hilarious personal problem, instead of having it bounce up occasionally for quick comedic relief? Even Vincent D'Onofrio's (Daredevil series) unbalanced character gets a paper thin subplot about his motivations that connect to his junkie son, that never hits any kind of mark. Even most of the film's many cameos aren't properly utilized. It's like a bunch of Shepard's acting buddies showed up to support his attempts, but didn't take it seriously enough to stay for a bit longer.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of CHIPS


The Good- The film's only honest scene, where Shepard and Pena laugh over their "intimate" encounter. They've got chemistry, why not anyone else? And some of the car chases weren't bad.

The Bad- That whole Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) live-in divorce thing. Why? Oh yeah, there was some kind of big shoot out for the finale. Whoopie!

The Ugly- When the only two seriously funny scenes of the entire movie are from men's junk getting touched in one way or another, then more work should've been given to the screenplay.

Final Thoughts

If I would have taken my Grandmother with me to see this version of her beloved CHiP's show, she probably would've smacked me in the head and asked me if I had brain damage. CHIPS is a mostly in name only rip off that doesn't seem to know what the hell to do with itself, other than to lightly hold your attention while it wanders around in insignificance. In terms of quality, this CHIP has most definitely fallen far from the tree. Who am I kidding? The show wasn't that great either. But at least it knew what direction it was going.
Rating- 3.5 out of 10



CHIPS (2017)

R | 1h 40min | Action, Comedy, Crime | 24 March 2017 (USA)

A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involved some crooked cops.

Director: Dax Shepard
Writer: Dax Shepard
Stars: Michael Peña, Dax Shepard, Jessica McNamee 

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