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As I'm sure you know, Hollywood has been running out of original ideas over the past 20 years or so. In that time, it seems there's been an excessive amount of remakes of TV series and older movies and most of them have sucked.
The latest show to get the big screen remake treatment is CHiPs. I didn't even know this was an actual thing, until the preview showed up in my Facebook feed the other day. I'd embed the trailer but to be honest, some of the content may violate Google's rules. So I'll link to it here.
Well, then. OK, the first thing is they didn't even "spell" CHiPs correctly. The movie poster and IMDB listing for it spells it in all caps: CHIPS. The proper spelling uses a lowercase "i" and "s". But that's the least of this movie's problems...
I feel just a little hypocritical right now because I wasn't a CHiPs fan. I remember watching only a handful of episodes in the late '70s and early '80s. And let's face it: most vintage shows are a little bit cheesy, especially when it comes to injecting humor. CHiPs would usually end an episode with Ponch trying to impress a lady that he met, and failing miserably as the boys were off duty and socializing. But my first thought after watching the trailer (and I couldn't finish it the first time I viewed it) is that the movie looks like it's going to be really disrespectful to the series. Not just the series, but the original actors--Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox--as well. And worst of all, it seems very disrespectful of law enforcement professionals.
The trailer portrays "Ponch" (Michael Peña) and "Jon" (Dax Shepard) as two goofballs doing tricks on their motorcycles and carelessly damaging other vehicles while they sing along to a horrible auto tuned song about the California Highway Patrol. Actually, from what I've heard, these two guys are actually undercover and merely posing as characters named Ponch and Jon. Jon is covered with scars (not to mention Shepard's tats) and is shown popping painkillers. And what's up with the crotch shots and implied homophobia? This is supposed to be funny?
It was reported yesterday that Erik Estrada (who became a real-life reserve officer for the town of St. Anthony, Idaho last year) deemed the new movie "pure trash" and he also retweeted tweets from people condemning the film. (He has since tried to downplay his thoughts on the movie, but I shared his original knee-jerk reaction.)
Now, the original CHiPs had a lot of humor in it, and it gets classified as a "light drama" that showed very little violence. It didn't take itself too seriously. But, much like Adam-12, it still portrayed police officers as helping ordinary citizens in dangerous situations and it also inspired some fans to pursue a career in law enforcement.
The CHIPS reboot focuses on catching corrupt cops within the highway patrol division, and Jon trying to impress his wife (played by Dax Shepard's real-life wife, Kristin Bell) with his uniform.
Speaking of Shepard, we can blame this train wreck on him; not only does he star in CHIPS, but he wrote the script, directed the movie, and produced it as well. I'll be honest -- I never watched Shepard's series Parenthood and I've never seen any of his films including Employee of the Month, Let's Go To Prison, and Without a Paddle. I've seen some interviews with him and find him likable, despite his awkward first name (his mother named him after a character in a cheesy romance novel) and the fact that his face reminds me at times of Barry Manilow once he started to get plastic surgery. He's also into vintage wheels, and posted a photo of a gorgeous 1960s Lincoln on his Instagram page, so I give him props for that. But if he's as funny and talented as everyone (or at least, the comments on YouTube) say he is, then I think he could have approached the CHiPs project with a little more decorum. I don't get how a scene where Ponch accidentally bumps his face into Jon's underwear-covered genitals is supposed to be funny.
Audiences of my generation don't need another movie remake filled with frat-boy humor, we need films with original story lines. And not to sound like a superficial girl, but let's face it -- Pena and Shepard are not as cute as Estrada and Wilcox were:
Oh, well. When will Hollywood learn? Even if this movie bombs, they'll just continue to remake shows into pap. Let's just hope they never do this to Adam-12.
For nostalgia's sake, here's the cool opening theme to the TV series. Wonder if the movie will eft that up, too.