A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involve some crooked cops.
Jon Baker (Shepard) and Frank Ponch Poncherello (Peña) have just joined the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Los Angeles, but for very different reasons. Baker is a beaten-up former pro motorbiker trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky undercover Federal agent investigating a multi-million dollar heist that may be an inside-job inside the CHP. The inexperienced rookie and the hardened pro are teamed together, but clash more than click, so kick-starting a real partnership is easier said than done. But with Baker's unique bike skills and Ponch's street savvy it might just work...if they don't drive each other crazy first. Written by
Jason Ellis: one of the stunt men Dax Shepard punches. In a later segment on Ellis' radio show, Ellis told Shepard that he would've been very upset if he'd waited around for hours, only to have Shepard pull his punches. See more »
When Ponch is driving the getaway car in the first heist scene, it's shown as a Chevy SS right up until they arrive at the docks. As he's about to torch the getaway car, the car changes to a Chevy Malibu. See more »
Probably most enjoyable for the little teenage boy in all of us
Comedian Dax Shepard has been acting on screen for years without making it big. He is perhaps best known as Kristen Bell's husband and being part of the main cast in drama series Parenthood" which doesn't actually say a whole lot either.
But he is one of those actors who is willing to write, produce and even direct his own stuff if satisfying offers don't come his way. And CHIPS" must be one of these pet projects, because he fills all four jobs mentioned above, sharing the screen with co-star Michael Peña.
There are actually bunch of other cool faces around in smaller roles, including of course Kristen Bell. But it's mostly about Shepard and Peña offering a buddy action comedy, so if you feel like you could like them, it's half a win for the movie already.
(Sadly, there's smaller number of famous friends on screen than in Shepard's previous projects, 2010's Brother's Justice" and 2012's Hit and Run". I guess Bradley Cooper and Tom Arnold felt that they have done enough for him and let him sink or swim alone now.)
Shepard is convincing in the sensitive/wise doofus role that he has chosen to himself, although his acting range seems limited in general.
So he has surrounded himself with some rock solid players, starting with Peña who has the coveted ability to make every movie a bit more better just by appearing there. In this regard, he's like a young- ish Latin version of Morgan Freeman, or something.
What is more important here: Peña can effortlessly do action, drama and comedy and there's need for all three here, Shepard couldn't hold the fort alone. And speaking of solid, we also have Vincent D'Onofrio who is every inch as imposing and magnetic as we have come to expect from this veteran thespian.
Based on the classic TV series of the same name (1977-83), it's about the adventures of two California Highway Patrol cops. But it's not the eighties anymore, so we get currently widespread type of raunchy mainstream comedy with some action.
If you want to measure the general style of the story and also the nastiness of the dialogue, you should check out the Red Band trailer, for example. It is not able to effectively share the quite enjoyable buddy comedy vibe CHIPS" has during most of its running time, but you do get an idea if you would like to see some more of it.
The result is probably most enjoyable for the little teenage boy in all of us, with plenty of cursing, light violence and sex- or body- related jokes. If you can't catch their wave, you will probably be a little tired when the end comes.
I actually enjoyed most of this raunchy silliness although I felt that the ending felt a bit rushed and half-hearted.
It's easy to imagine that the success of 21 Jump Street" movies made pitching the project and gathering the money for CHIPS" easier for Shepard & Co.
The projects are quite similar: old and loved TV series turned into modern American comedy, two likable guys in the middle of it all, verbally sparring, punching and shooting their way to glory.
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