Once in a while that one special film comes along: one that is so odious, so dreadful, and so incredibly lousy that you’ll find yourself asking how on Earth did this garbage ever get the green light from a major studio? Well folks, we have the first entry into what will undoubtedly be vying for the top spot of the worst films of 2017, and I won’t be surprised if it lands at or near the very top of the trash heap.
What a waste of a great concept! “CHIPS” is the lame attempt by actor (and here also the writer and director) Dax Shepard to bring the popular buddy motorcycle cop show of the same name to the big screen. Most of us 70s kids loved Ponch and Jon, two iconic television characters who should’ve been a true goldmine for a comedy film — but Shepard manages to completely ruin it for everyone with his unfocused direction, lackluster plot, and his sad excuse for humor.
The casting is on point, with Shepard stepping into the role of daredevil turned highway patrolman Jon Baker and Michael Peña taking on Erik Estrada’s iconic Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello. The two should’ve made the perfect onscreen duo, but their chemistry is sorely lacking and their endless riffs feel stiff and unnatural. Shame on Shepard for squandering the talented Peña, a crime against movie lovers everywhere which in itself should be a punishable offense. Let’s hope his career can recover from this dreck.
I honestly hate trashing on Shepard because I truly do like the guy, and I usually respond to his brand of funny. But the lame excuses for jokes in this movie are really, really lousy. Everything is lowbrow in the worst possible way. The attempts at humor are so abysmal that Shepard repeatedly resorts to homophobic, sexist and racist wisecracks — and none of it is funny. Case in point: he attempts to make Ponch’s sex addiction and gross objectification of women into a running slapstick gag, which plays as extremely vile and obnoxious. There are plenty of outdated anti-gay one-liners too, and to top it off, it’s mean-spirited towards cats.
The storyline is one that’s loaded with indifference. In between the forced clashes between the inexperienced rookie and hardened veteran, there’s a half-baked plot about corrupt cops, undercover FBI agents, and more, none of which makes much sense or gives the audience a reason to care. Even the motorcycle chase scenes are poorly done, with lame stunt driving and even worse staging. Geez Dax, I know you love choppers and cars, couldn’t you even get that right?
If I force myself to say something positive about the movie, all I can come up with is that at least Shepard’s time spent at the gym surely shows (he’s buff and shirtless for many scenes), but even that’s not nearly enough to hold anyone’s interest.
There was so much potential for this film that is completely wasted. Instead of taking a straight-laced approach or even better, a tongue-in-cheek, spoof-filled approach, Shepard simply cannot decide on the tone he wants for the movie. He gives us a comedy that lacks any elements of comedy.
This movie is so lazy, so unfunny that it’s actually an insult to anyone who purchases a ticket and subjects themselves to two hours in a darkened theater. Mindless cinema can be fun, but not when it’s this awful.