Movie Review: Chips

It can be embarrassing when I go to movies like the new movie “Chips” because I know it is going to be bad going in, but I still see films like this to perhaps learn more about movies and screenwriting and I still believe you have to experience the good ones as well as the bad ones, maybe to learn how not to write a screenplay. I also see movies like this for this movie blog, because moviegoers are interested in bad movies as well as good movies, or at least I think so, with the possible exception of this one.

Name recognition is a marketing tool. In this latest TV season, no less than three TV shows have been created based off of well-known movies, Taken, Training Day and Lethal Weapon. The idea here is that the name recognition could cause a greater number of people to tune in because they are curious about the TV show if they remember and liked the movie. The hope is that once they watch the first episode because of curiosity, then maybe they will get hooked and watch the entire series or many more episodes. This marketing idea also sometimes works for movies, that are based on TV shows. Starsky and Hutch released in 2004, 21 Jump Street in 20012, The Addams Family in 1991, others include Lost in Space, Miami Vice and Mission Impossible, which is the most popular movie franchise based on a TV show in movie history. Another example of using name recognition is to make a movie based on characters from a TV show and the best example of this is Saturday Night Live and there are no less than 12 movies that have been made from Saturday Night Live characters. Yes, 12 Saturday Night Live movies.

Clearly, this name recognition marketing idea works most of the time, (see link) otherwise there would not be so many movies made from well-known TV shows. The difference with the movie Chips, based on the TV show Chips that ran from 1977-1983 is that this TV show as at best barely average and not a TV series that anyone would think would be worth making into a movie and it has been off the air for 34 years. I have never understood the value of having police officers on motorcycles among cars and trucks on California highways. I would have liked to seen some kind of explanation in this movie as to why something like CHP (California Highway Patrol) still even exists, considering the danger of one person riding a motorcycle on a highway traveling at high speed chasing after some criminal. According to this website, of the 233 deaths for the CHP, 70 of them were from motorcycle accidents. Given this statistic alone, it is hard to understand why something like the CHP is still considered necessary.

Unfortunately perhaps through the Hollywood deal-making pipeline or some other reason, a very bad script, written by Dax Shepard was greenlighted and made into a bad movie. This movie is not the worst I have ever seen, but it probably has the most convoluted and “all over the place” nightmare of splintered story lines that I have ever sat through in a very long time. It is almost as if the screenwriter would write a scene, and then forget to explain how this scene is connected to or related to another part of the story. Different parts of this film seem to be just an excuse to show something raunchy or continue a disgusting running gag that didn’t work the first or the second time it was attempted. This movie is supposed to be a comedy-drama but there was very few if anything to laugh about, and the police drama part was not interesting enough to keep your attention for any length of time. Additional to these problems is that the whole story barely made any sense, with the myriad of characters and scenes that jumped around through an unbearable almost 2 hours.

This movie stars Dax Shepard and Micheal Pena with a cameo from several other actors including Dax Shepard’s wife Kristen Bell, but even with this pretty large cast and several cameos, there is nothing that can ever save a script this bad.  Run from the movie Chips, it is just not worth sitting through and should have gone directly to DVD and never released.

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