Originally broadcast in the late 1970s, CHiPs was a lightweight police procedural drama that ran for six series and chronicled the exploits of two motorcycle officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
It was an undemanding soap opera on two wheels.
Dax Shepard’s supposedly comical reboot of this curiosity might be clad in the same snug-fitting tan police uniforms, and features a toe-curling cameo from lead actor Erik Estrada, but similarities come to a screeching halt there.
“The California Highway Patrol does not endorse this film. At all,” declares the opening title card.
Nor do I, nor should any creature on this planet with a pulse because CHiPs is one of the most relentlessly offensive and reprehensible films I have had the misfortune to witness.
Shepard’s staggeringly misjudged script adopts a goofy grin as it spews out one homophobic, sexist or racist comment after the next, objectifying female cast as either a pair of breasts or a jiggling posterior.
The degradation includes one ugly scene of a female CHP officer telling colleagues that a traitor in their midst has been described by a witness as “pretty” and all of the women nod in agreement that they couldn’t receive such a compliment.
Lead characters played by Shepard and Michael Pena are dislikeable to the point that when one of them ricochets at speed off the bonnet of a villain’s four-wheel drive Humvee during a chase, we wouldn’t shed a tear for his passing.
Daredevil motorcyclist Jon Baker (Shepard) has sustained 23 bone-crunching injuries from his gravity-defying acrobatics and now has titanium pins in his scarred body.
He applies to CHP in a desperate attempt to revitalise his ailing marriage to swim instructor Karen (Kristen Bell), whose father was a cop.
Sergeant Hernandez (Maya Rudolph) puts Jon on probation, with the understanding that he must be in the top 10% of his class to stay in the programme.
He is partnered with hard-nosed veteran Frank Poncherello (Pena), who is actually an undercover FBI agent on the trail of a dirty cop (Vincent D’Onofrio) responsible for a multimillion dollar heist.
While female CHP officers Lindsey (Jessica McNamee) and Ava (Rosa Salazar) salivate over Jon and Frank – “I got the little brown one,” coos Lindsey – the mismatched buddies rev their engines.
“We’re like Jay Z and Beyonce!” whoops Jon.
CHiPS is a sickening car crash from numbskull start to gratuitously violent conclusion.
Shepard’s motormouth dimwit and Pena’s rage-fuelled sex addict grate on the nerves every time they bicker or trash talk about the sexual desires of modern women.
Competently executed action sequences are the only respite from the bigotry and bile.
Everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed and surrender to the real CHP for crimes against decency and good taste.
Give CHiPs the chop.