Yesterday, Deadline Hollywood announced that Parenthood star Dax Shepard will be headlining a big screen adaptation of CHiPs for Warner Bros. The now-kitschy, cops-on-bikes TV series ran from ‘77 to '83 and essentially made Erik Estrada into a household name. But, a film reboot has been slow in coming.
Let’s not mince words. Previous similar revamps have sucked. Sorry, Starsky and Hutch apologists. Snoop Dogg in a movie doesn’t make it a cult classic, nor does the presence of professional, screen-winking hams like Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller. Hence the reason, this CHiPs remake might actually be a good idea.
Actors Shepard and Michael Peña — to play Officers Jon Baker and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, respectively — have both demonstrated serious chops in the past. Pena is one of the most underutilized actors in Hollywood today. Likely, he’ll be adept at reprising Estrada’s famous character without making him into a caricature.
Shepard will not only be starring in but also writing and directing the film. While most of the country knows him as a layabout-turned-good-dad on Parenthood, there is ample evidence that the buddies-burning-rubber world of CHiPs is squarely within his wheelhouse. The under-appreciated 2012 film, Hit and Run, which Shepard also wrote, directed, and starred in, is a sleeper joyride jam-packed with cars barreling down highways, bullet storms, and witty banter.