By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Some laughs, but more iffy stuff in TV-based action comedy.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid the mayhem is the idea that courage and compassion are both rewarded when they're doled out authentically. Also, everyone has strengths that they can contribute to the world. Serious themes include marital infidelity and the death of a beloved colleague
Positive Role Models
Jon Baker might be a bit of a ne'er-do-well, but he's also kind, caring, and loyal. His partner, Frank Poncharello, also has some issues but ultimately is a lawman who wants to do his job well.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of action violence, though some scenes are cartoonish and played for laughs. But there's still lots of fighting/mayhem, including blood, gunshots, fist fights (which include knee-capping), explosions, cars and motorcycles careening about. At one point a motorcyclist is clotheslined and beheaded -- his body and head are shown separated. In another scene, a man's fingers are blown off, with the stubs shown up close.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many references to sex and scenes with naked bodies. One patrol officer has a sex addiction, and his photo-heavy sexting conversations are shown on camera, including naked breasts. In one scene, a woman shows off her body, which appears to be fully naked, though viewers don't see her private parts. In another scene, a man walks in on a couple having sex; one partner's backside is fully visible. In other scene, a man helps an injured friend by carrying him to his bath, with much talk about nudity; the man nearly face-plants into his friend's privates, which are briefly visible. Some talk about the sex addict "having" to masturbate multiple times during the workday. One character ogles and objectifies women, with the camera lingering on their body parts.
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Frequent use of words including "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "a--hole," "bitch," and more.
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Products & Purchases
A few products are seen frequently, including Chevrolet, Ducati, Ferrari, Immodium, Walgreens, CVS, and the iPhone.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking. One character has had so many broken bones and injuries that he pops pills of all sorts constantly.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that CHIPS, inspired by the hit 1970s/'80s TV show, is a "hard-R" action comedy that's chock full of mature content. In particular, there's tons of sex, including lots of naked breasts, an interrupted sex scene, references to sex addiction and masturbation, sexting, and a brief flash of a main character's privates. There's also plenty of violence, some of which is pretty wince-inducing, including an accidental beheading that's shown in some detail. You can also expect frequent chases and explosions, gunshots, fights, and more. Characters drink and pop pills, and the language is very salty (including "f--k," "s--t," and more). One character in particular objectifies women. All of that said, the movie addresses some serious topics amid the mayhem, including marital infidelity and the death of a beloved colleague, and some characters ultimately exhibit both courage and compassion. Dax Shepard and Michael Peña star.
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What's the Story?
Based on the hit 1970s/1980s TV show of the same name, the big-screen version of CHIPS stars Dax Shepard as rookie highway patrol officer Jon Baker, a veteran of the X Games who's amazing on a motorcycle but hapless at pretty much everything else (including his marriage to his estranged wife, Karen -- played by Shepard's real-life wife, Kristen Bell). Somehow, though, he gets through the Police Academy and is partnered with an FBI agent who's undercover as CHP officer Frank "Ponch" Poncherello (Michael Peña), who's trying to round up dirty cops involved in a robbery and murder ring. Will the unlikely duo stop the bad guys and save the day?
Is It Any Good?
There isn't much about this action comedy that's inventive or original; the plot is so thin that it's barely visible. But, on a certain level, it works -- largely thanks to the great chemistry between Shepard and Pena, who manage to make even the cheesiest, silliest of their dialog sound somewhat funny. They're just fun to watch on the screen. Plus, the stunts do a lot to amp up the storytelling, and the jokes, while sometimes so tired they're fatigued, coax laughs out of the audience. You could say that CHIPS has charm, though how in the heck that happened is hard to tell.
One way the film could have easily been better? Doing away with the female objectification and the jokes based on stereotypes. Though this version of CHIPS is supposed to be modern in matters of how women are portrayed or seen, it's ultimately annoyingly retro. And then there's the script, which starts off with characters who have surprisingly rich back stories and ends up barely existing as a structural foundation. Maybe binge the original instead.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in CHIPS. Is any of it funny? Why or why not? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Jon is shown downing medications of all types and stripes all the time. Does the movie minimize the problem of addiction?
How is sex portrayed in the movie? Is it loving? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How does the film compare to the original TV show? Which do you like better, and why? In general, do you like movies based on old shows? Why or why not?
Are any of the characters role models? Why or why not?
- In theaters: March 24, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: June 27, 2017
- Cast: Michael Pena, Dax Shepard, Adam Brody
- Director: Dax Shepard
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, some violence and drug use
- Last updated: April 1, 2023
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