CHIPS (2017)

I’m of the mind that if you can’t get Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox to be in CHIPS, then you don’t have CHIPS anymore. The fact that Dax Shepard made a film called CHIPS about two officers named Jon Baker and Frank Poncherello seems no more than a strange coincidence, as it bears no resemblance to the original. It’s entertaining enough in its own right, but honestly, it’s not CHIPS.

Genre(s): Comedy, Action

Director: Dax Shepard

Actors: Dax Shepard, Michael Peña, Rosa Salazar, Adam Brody, Richard T. Jones, Kristen Bell, Vincent D'Onofrio

Year: 2017

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

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For one thing, Frank Poncherello (Michael Pena) isn’t just a California Highway Patrol officer, he’s an undercover FBI agent working for the CHP. He’s also not just a smooth lady’s man with unstoppable charm, perfect hair, and gleaming white teeth – he’s a sex addict. And while Michael Pena’s Ponch is smart and likable, well, he just isn’t Erik Estrada. Similarly, Dax Shepard is no Larry Wilcox, which is saying a lot considering how many people thought of Larry Wilcox and the character he played as The Other Guy. Forever disheveled and suffering from a wide range of debilitating injuries stemming from a professional biking career, Shepard’s Jon Baker completely lacks Wilcox’s clean cut good looks and sensible demeanor. Also, the only reason he works for the California Highway Patrol is to win back his horrible estranged wife (Kristen Bell) with his irresistible uniform. He’s sweet, thoughtful, and has a hilarious aversion to the smell of other people’s houses, but nothing about him calls to mind a character we know.

And so we have two protagonists who don’t really seem like Ponch and Jon forming an unlikely friendship and trying to figure out who in the organization is the dirty cop behind a multi-million dollar heist. Jokes about Ponch’s sexual interests and Jon’s broken down body abound in this crass but good-natured comedy. The plot seems somewhat incidental in a series of gags, and though there are laughs to be had, it’s difficult to invest in the story or the characters. As formulaic as the original TV show could be, it maintained a certain sincerity. Ponch and Jon genuinely seemed to care about one another and their work, which made it entirely possible to care about them.

SPECIAL FEATURES

The Blu-ray combo pack includes director’s commentary, deleted scenes, and the featurettes “This Is Not Your Dad’s CHIPS“, “Practical Pursuit”, and “Ducati: The Perfect Bike”. The Standard Definition DVD includes only the featurette “This Is Not Your Dad’s CHIPS“.

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