Who knew that Dax Shepard was still in movies, let alone wrote & directed them too!? Certainly not me anyway. ‘CHiPs’ sees Michael Peña swap Alexander Skarsgård from last years ‘War On Everyone’ for Shepard for yet another buddy cop comedy. This film whilst written and directed by Shepard is based on the American television series of the same name from the late seventies and early eighties.
The buddy cop genre is overcrowded to say the least. Every cinematic year sees fantastic examples but more often then not they can turn out to be rather criminal. ‘CHiPs’ looked set to be the latter. If it was being judged solely on the narrative I’m afraid that it’s guilty as charged. The story here is pretty standard and very predictable. The mission to unmask the dirty cops within the California Highway Patrol is robbed of any mystery by letting the audience in on the identity of said cops, or at least the ring leader, almost right at the beginning of the film. Any other details are easily connectable and there is little here to make for an entertaining movie. Enter the comedy to save the day? Unfortunately not as there are virtually zero laughs to be had. The jokes are that unmemorable that I’m struggling to recall even what style of comedy they were. They were unfunny, that’s the main thing to understand.
The saving grace for the film that actually made it somewhat watchable was the action. More specifically the motorbike sequences. There are several of these throughout the film, as would be expected. They inject some much needed energy and fun into the picture and ‘CHiPs’ was always at it’s best in these moments. As I’ve already mentioned it’s Michael Peña and Dax Shepard who star in the movie as these motorbike riding cops. It’s so annoying to see Peña in films like this. He’s a really talented actor but recently his choice of roles has been questionable. It’s a shame that this continues here however he’s still endlessly watchable and the film would be a chore to get through without him. Shepard doesn’t have the same appeal however he does have his moments. The chemistry between the pair is fine but it’s nothing special. The rest of the cast take up rather minor supporting roles, mos playing utterly terrible characters. Adam Brody was maybe the only one to get away with his involvement here, providing a couple of amusing scenes.
‘CHiPs’ will quickly be forgotten amongst this genre. The lack of anything overly original and the failure to succeed at crucial elements has sealed it’s fate. It wasn’t awful but it’s not far away from it. I can’t recommend the movie at all but if you do go see it don’t expect to enjoy much other than the motorbikes and Michael Peña, there’s very little else worth your attention here.
Rating – 4/10
Question: You’re the casting director of a new buddy cop movie, who’s your dream duo?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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