CHiPS, released nationwide tomorrow, cert 15a, **
FOR those of a certain vintage, CHiPs was a big part of their childhood.
The police drama, based on the California Highway Patrol, focused on the motorcycle cops Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello and Jon Baker. It ran from 1977 to 1983 and re-runs dominated Irish television screens throughout the 1980s.
Looking back, it was a heap of cheese, but it was an innocent police drama suitable for the whole family to watch. The bikes were fast, the officers attractive and the Los Angeles setting made it fierce exciting to Irish viewers.
It came back for a one-off reunion movie in 1998 and that is where it should have stayed. Unfortunately, Dax Sheppard has decided we need to see CHiPs 2017 style and it sure isn’t the CHiPs we’re used to seeing.
Sheppard writes, directs and stars as Jon Baker, a former champion stunt motorbike rider. His body is a wreck from multiple crashes and his brain is fried due to his compulsive consumption of narcotics for his pain. He is too stupid to realize his wife, Karen (Kirsten Bell), is having an affair — despite the fact that her paramour lives in their house, where Jon has been relegated to the pool house.
In a bid to save his marriage, Baker has joined the CHiPs academy where he fails every test going but is admitted to the force due to his super skills on a bike.
He is partnered up with a transfer to the station, Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello (Michael Peña), a sex addict who needs to relieve his addiction problems several times a day whilst on duty. It’s a gross running gag, one of many.
What Baker does not know is that Ponch is an undercover FBI agent sent to investigate five potential crooked cops who are under suspicion for involvement in a series of armoured car robberies.
Clay Allen (Adam Brody) is the straight FBI man sent to investigate the case from the outside while Ponch is undercover.
The cops in their station do not take to Baker and Ponch, but Ponch does not know if it is because Baker is an idiot or if the bad cops are suspicious of them.
They have to contend with Ray Kurtz (Vincent D’Onofrio) a violent cop who has all the hallmarks of a bad guy.
Kurz’s son Reed Jr. (Justin Chatwin) is a heroin addict and he might just be the reason his father is turning to the dark side.
There are a bunch of other cops implicated and Ponch and Baker are forced to work together to stop the bad guys. Oh, so original.
Except it is not, not like the original CHiPs anyway. This is rude, unpleasant, and sexist... the list goes on.
Bad jokes are dragged on and on. They weren’t funny in the first act; they certainly aren’t funny in the third.
It is particularly sexist, with all of the female characters being reduced to sex objects, with an unforgivable amount of close up shots of rear-ends and several shots of naked women.
It is tiresome that Hollywood still thinks it is OK to objectify women in this manner.
There are some decent actors in this, all of them wasting their time.
It is not an utter bike crash, some of the chases are decent, but overall this CHiPs is only fit for the scrapyard.