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Released 24 March 2017
Director Dax Shepard

Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Rosa Salazar, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Vincent D'Onofrio
Writer(s) Dax Shepard
Producer(s) Andrew Panay
Origin United States
Running Time 100 minutes
Genre Action, comedy, crime
Rating 15A

Highway to hell.

Before seeing Chips I was only vaguely aware of Dax Shepard's existence and that was only because he has the weathered look of Zach Braff after a particularly gruelling gap year holiday. As it turns out, Shepard is something of a triple threat; in Chips, loosely based on the TV show from the late ‘70s (what do you mean you weren't a fan??) he writes, directs and acts. The fact that he can do none of these things to a satisfactory level is pretty unfortunate for everyone involved.

The movie sees Shepard take on the role of retired motocross rider Jon Baker. Multiple injuries have forced Baker out of the sport, losing him his money and his wife (Kristen Bell). In an attempt to win her back, Baker joins the California Highway Patrol. His partner is undercover FBI Agent Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Pena), who is on the trail of some dirty cops within the Highway Patrol. At first the pair clash but soon join forces to weed out the bad guys.

For me, the movie fell off a cliff within ten minutes during a painfully unfunny exchange between the usually charming Maya Rudolph and Shepard which attempts to mine some comedy from the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. Staggeringly, it gets worse from there as the tasteless gags keep on coming, mostly based around genitalia. The recurring gags about Ponch's homophobia are presumably supposed to be ironic but as a writer, Shepard simply doesn't have the ability to riff on such subjects in an intelligent way. Instead, his jokes on homophobia are simply homophobic and those about sex addiction are a thinly veiled excuse to ogle some toned behinds. Speaking of which, the treatment of the female characters is primarily judged by the quality of said bottoms, as Shepard splits them into the broad categories of 1. Lycra clad hotties and 2. grotesque harridans. Oh, there's also a character called Gay Terry...

The funny thing about all this is that despite the cloth-eared sexual politics on show, I couldn’t even be bothered to get angry about Chips. Sure, it's a shame to see great actors like Michael Pena and Vincent D'Onofrio lower themselves to this level but getting angry about it feels like a waste of time and energy. Hopefully after this disaster Dax Shepard will retreat back to whatever Frat House he came from and leave the movie business to the grown-ups.

- Linda O'Brien