The TV cop show “CHIPS” ran for six seasons beginning in 1977 and made stars of Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox who played California Highway Patrol officers Ponch and Jon. There was to be have been a feature film reboot a decade ago with Wilmer Valderamma (“The 70s Show”) as Ponch but that deal fell apart. Dax Shepard (“Parenthood”) resurrected the project and the resulting buddy movie was released Friday.
However, the critical consensus is that this new version of “CHIPS” was not worth the wait. Shepard pulls triple duty as writer, director and star as he assumes the role of Jon while Michael Pena squeezes into the tight-fitting pants of Ponch. While the original TV show had a light-hearted tone at times, the movie is crammed with low-brow gags.
It merits a mere 21 at Rotten Tomatoes, which makes it a prime target for the attention of the Razzie Awards. Expect it to reap a bid as Worst Remake. Among the critics taking aim at “CHIPS” were the following:
Jeanette Catsoulis (New York Times): “A fascination with posteriors – both human and feline – isn’t the worst thing about ‘CHIPS,’ but it’s up there.”
Owen Gleiberman (Variety): “Shepard just sprinkles overstated banter onto a generic plot and bits of pedal-to-the-metal action, as if he was serving the action-comedy gods by sticking the usual ingredients in a blender and pushing puree.”
Sandy Cohen (AP): “Reimagined by writer, director, producer and star Dax Shepard, the big-screen ‘CHIPS’ is a tawdry, testosterone-fueled tale built around penis jokes and endless evaluation of women’s appearances.”
Devan Coogan (EW): “While ‘CHIPS’ sure is goofy, it falls flat compared to other buddy-cop comedies in its genre, relying too heavily on unpleasant sex jokes (often revolving around gay panic) and a nonsensical crime plot.”
John Semley (The Globe and Mail): “It’s not uniquely bad, nor so bad it’s good. It’s factually, quantifiably bad. Overcooked, underdressed, sloppy, indigestible: just your classic crap hamburger of a movie.”