CHIPS is the latest kitschy-yet-beloved cop show to get remodeled on the big screen as a bromantic buddy comedy. However, unlike the way the movie versions of Starsky & Hutch and 21 Jump Street played up those shows' alleged homoeroticism for ironic, lighthearted laughs, CHIPS lets it be known from the jump that it isn't down with that gay shit.
When Michael Peña's Frank "Ponch" Poncherello and Dax Shepard's Jon Baker first meet, Ponch immediately gets standoffish as Baker tries to hug him while wearing nothing but boxer briefs. When Baker accuses Ponch of being homophobic, we get a rambling, not-that-funny debate between them about what homophobia actually is. They bicker for the first half of the film, of course, but eventually bond when Ponch accidentally faceplants into Baker's naked crotch.
All this manly madness comes from Shepard, who wrote and directed the whole shebang. But even as this wildly macho package tries to win over its audience by offering nothing but speed-demon chases and sex talk (wait until you hear Peña and Shepard discuss the joys of analingus!), CHIPS proves overwhelming self-indulgent -- their good time seems to matter more than ours. Shepard and Peña (who also serve as producers) practically use it to engage in some good ol' wish fulfillment. After years of being stuck in neutered supporting roles, Peña is all studly, arrogant swagger, as his sex-addict hothead hooks up with gals left and right. As for Shepard, he sticks it to his archenemies -- the paparazzi! -- by having a few photographers mowed down during one chase scene.