So I watched Chips…
I didn’t really have much interest in watching this movie and was more than happy to let it pass me by. However, I’ve recently become enamored with Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell. Every video I find of the two on YouTube constantly makes me laugh and I think their love story is so genuine and true. Long story short, I couldn’t not watch a movie that my favourite Hollywood couple is in.
Okay, basic plot: After a suspicious armoured truck robbery involving the California Highway Patrol, the FBI send in Agent Castillo (Michael Peña) to investigate the department under the alias, Frank Ponchorello. Ponchorello is partnered with Jon Baker (Dax Shepard) – an eager albeit slightly incompetent rookie who is hoping becoming a police officer will help him reconnect with his estranged wife. Although initially resistant to trusting or even developing a friendship with Baker, Ponchorello warms up to him and the pair make a good team. With the highway patrol clearly compromised, it’s up to these two partners to crack the case and find the traitors in the department.
I liked this movie, I really did. Watching it felt like watching Dax Shepard during his interviews – funny, wacky but most of all natural. The jokes in the movie feel very real. Yes, there’s Hollywood veneer with its obligatory suspension of disbelief but there’s still a genuine, real-world quality to the comedy. The only problem I had with it is that it often feels disjointed. The film feels like an amalgamation of separate comedy sketches instead of one harmonious comedic organism. It’s always funny but there’s never a consistent flow from one scene to the next.
Another glaring problem I had with this film is that it’s quite cliche. If you’ve ever watched a buddy cop movie, you’ve seen the basic blueprint to this film. From the incompatible partners who become blood brothers to the angry black captain, it’s all there. The plot is also quite predictable and there’s nothing in the story to leave you in shock and awe. Now in the context of this movie, its predictability isn’t as large a weakness as it may have been in another movie. This movie’s purpose isn’t about resolving its plot or leading you along a fun mystery; this film is all about the friendship between Baker and Ponchorello.
The exhibition of this friendship is where the film functions best. The pair are given the lion’s share of the screentime and the dialogue and humour between the two is some of the film’s best. The actors behind the characters do fantastic work. Michael Peña is one of the most underrated talents in Hollywood. He’s such a versatile actor and I really enjoyed seeing him in a leading role. Dax Shepard, alongside him, is such a loveable idiot with great comedic timing and delivery. The chemistry between the two is amazing and is the foundation that makes this film so much fun to watch. I also have to give praise to Vincent D’Onofrio. D’Onofrio is like a fine glass of wine – the older he gets, the more I love seeing him. His role in this movie is marginal but highly entertaining.
Overall, Chips is a fun, light-hearted comedy. Its plot is cliche and its full of tropes we’ve seen a million times before; but it’s funny and has two entertaining leads. It’s worth watching but don’t break your back trying to find it. 6/10