“CHiPS” was never a masterpiece of a cop show, but it definitely had its merits. It was a fairly mediocre crime show about two high way police officers going on various adventures revolving around highways and roads of all kinds. What Dax Shepherd does is gut the premise to deliver a generic buddy cop comedy that is also one of the worst movies of 2017. I’ve never seen a movie so ashamed of its own source material (despite “Wild, Wild West”), before. “CHiPS” seems to not only work hard to ignore the fact it’s an adaptation, but also seems to punish the audience for investing time in it. Shepherd’s direction is listless and uninspired, his performance and everyone else is phoned in, and the three man penned script is void of anything interesting or remotely comedic.
“CHiPS” doesn’t fully acknowledge it’s an adaptation of the series until the very final scene, and before that director Dax Shepherd, who also stars, works hard to convince audiences we’re watching a legitimate action comedy. Everything about the movie is a vacuous, unfunny, dull, and vapid cesspool of nonsense. There are zero laughs, no exciting set pieces, and Shepherd almost seems to intentionally make audiences miserable by placing himself front and center, while teaming with an actor he has zero chemistry with. “CHiPS’ is just such a baffling piece of garbage that tries for “21 Jump Street” satire without any of the sincerity or creativity behind it.
Even though it was a more comedic bend on the material, at least the aforementioned film had heart and love for the material. Shepherd operates on fumes from minute one, twisting every convention from the original show right down to the characters. He places John Baker front and center, while the character people actually loved from the original show is something of a goofy sidekick, when all is said and done. Michael Pena is a smart and very talented actor who is absolutely wasted in the void of the dull and uncharismatic Dax Shepherd. Shepherd’s directorial debut is every bit the vanity project audiences should expect; all for what is essentially a lame premise involving a mismatched pair of incompetent losers, and their odd sexual obsessions.
Shepherd places himself front and center, and tries to carry the film with his character, which fails at every turn since Shepherd lacks any kind of comic timing, charisma, or appeal. Pena, meanwhile, is reduced to a running joke of a character who is obsessed with women in tight pants. That’s about all I recall about his character. “CHiPS” is a painfully awful, dull, and pointless adaptation fueled by a man who is simply out of his element from the starting line.