Tag Archives: Adam Brody

The Kid Detective

He’s no relation to the Holmes clan, but when he was 13, Abe Applebaum solved the case of the missing fundraiser money. He was such a good little sleuth the townspeople celebrated his successes and rewarded him with his own office. He was the toast of the town, beloved by all, his parents impressed by his initiative, the newspaper chronicling his triumphs, but then he got a case he couldn’t solve. A young girl named Grace went missing and Abe couldn’t find her.

It was an unfair burden to put on a 13 year old kid. The townspeople never said as much, not directly, but young Abe knew what they expected, and he felt the weight of their disappointment when he wasn’t able to crack the only case that really mattered.

Now Abe (Adam Brody) is in his 30s, still working out of the same office the town bequeathed him as a kid detective. He’s occasionally contracted to find missing cats or track down secret admirers, but there isn’t much money in it, and his parents are both embarrassed for him and tired of supporting him. He drinks to numb the self-pity but the hangovers leave him even more despondent. At least until a wildly optimistic high school student hires him to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend.

I had very few expectations for this film so colour me surprised when I actually quite liked it (what IS the colour of surprise?). It was genuinely funny, it poked fun at the genre and at itself, it felt fresh and unexpected. Brody was well-cast and entirely believable as a man-boy who hasn’t left behind his childhood obsessions. The film struggles tonally, swinging between banter-y, smart-alecky comedy and the sobering facts of an actual murder investigation, which Abe is very much unqualified to conduct. But this guy’s had a cloud hanging over him for the past 20 years and if there’s a chance at a silver lining, he’s going whip out the old deerstalker and oversized magnifying glass and work this case like his life depends on it. And maybe it does.


CHIPS is an exercise in tempered expectations. One title card should be all the tempering you need: ‘written and directed by Dax Shepard.’ Dax Shepard isn’t exactly a visionary film maker. At best, he’s taking home a Participation ribbon from the He’s Trying His Best Awards. But why would you expect more from a guy who got his start on the prank show Punk’d? His whole career has been one big blinking caution sign: Hey guys, PLEASE don’t take me seriously, because I sure as hell don’t.

That said, CHIPS wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting – but then again, maybe that’s because I was expecting hot, runny garbage and what I got was a neat and tidy compost bin. You may hope for “HAHAHAHAHA!”, but count yourself lucky to get a few “hehs”.

Chips-The-Movie-15I am much, MUCH too young (and beautiful, but that’s besides the point) to have grown up watching CHIPS so the movie didn’t do a damn thing to disillusion my childhood or anything near as serious. It’s a dumb movie written by a guy with a pretty juvenile sense of humour. What you see is what you get.

Shepard plays Jon Baker, a slob, a deadbeat, and a broken shell of an ex-motor cross rider, and he’s also the lowest-scoring guy to ever be pity-hired by California Highway Patrol. Baker’s about to be┬ápartnered with his polar opposite, the suave, well-groomed, cocky undercover agent Ponch (Michael Pena) who’s investigating the CHP for crooked cops. Somehow they have to overcome the deficiencies of their partnership (and the script) to take down some very bad dudes.

The movie has its moments: good moments, and hella-bad moments. I did enjoy seeing paparazzi get plowed, Adam Brody get shot multiple times, and Vincent D’Onofrio be described as a man who “never sent a mother’s day card” and maybe also “eats koala bears.”

There’s no mistaking this for a good movie but if you’re in the right kind of mood (read: loosey-goosey), it just might do. And the fact that the cast is rounded out by tonnes of people who have either worked with Shepard or his lovely wife Kristen Bell before to me speaks volumes: he must be a good dude with the comedy stylings of a brazen 12 year old at his first sleepover. Friends in the cast include Ryan Hansen (from Veronica Mars), Josh Duhamel (When In Rome), Maya Rudolph (Idiocracy), Jessica McNamee (Sirens), and Mae Whitman and Rosa Salazar, both from Parenthood. I’m not saying it makes for a good movie, because it doesn’t. But it must mean something, right? In this case, it means a 100-minute celebration of the brainless low-brow.