Tag Archives: Dax Shepard

Playing Dirty

Buddy Games

by George Wolf

Buddy Games has the smell of something that’s been sitting on a shelf for quite a while, thrown out to theaters now like a piece of rancid meat to a hungry dog.

The theaters that are still open may be starving for content, but this meal is rotten to the core.

Director/co-writer/star Josh Duhamel leads a group of lifelong friends (Dax Shepard, Kevin Dillon, Nick Swardson, Dan Bakkedahl, James Roday Rodriguez) as the “Bobfather,” rich guy ringleader of their annual brodown throwdown they call the Buddy Games. Indulging their “primal need to dominate,” the guys hit an outdoor obstacle course to compete against each other in a variety of events for a lame trophy and – most importantly – bragging rights.

But an unfortunate paintball-to-nutsack incident shuts the games down, sending Buddy Game Champ Sheldon (Bakkedhahl) into a downward spiral that leads to rehab.

So at the urging of Shelly’s mom, the boys revive the Games after five long and aimless years, this time with a $150,000 prize to the victor.

If you’re sensing a mix of Tag and Grown Ups, you’re close, just remove all the charm of the former, and add even more stupidity than the latter.

It’s a tone deaf, crass and almost completely humorless exercise in objectifying women and indulging the selfishness of entitled d-bags. The longer it drags, the more you just wonder: why? Why did Duhamel pick this for his directing debut? Why did Olivia Munn accept another role as “low cut shirt for the marketing”? Why are we seeing Nick Swardson without Adam Sandler?

But, like most of those Sandler comedies, it looks like the cast of Buddy Games had a blast making it.

I guess you had to be there.

Ride or Die


by Hope Madden

How many of you remember that, in 70s cop shows, cars blew up all the time?

Without that knowledge, one of two running jokes in CHIPS will make no sense. The other one – well, you’ll understand it, it’s just not funny.

Neither is much of anything else in writer/director/star/seemingly good guy Dax Shepard’s big screen tribute to the cop show of a bygone era.

Shepard plays Jon to Michael Peña’s Ponch, and the two have to overcome their intimacy issues and crack some case about dirty cops.

Peña’s a talented actor (and a hard worker – the 41-year-old has 83 acting credits). He’s also versatile, easily handling drama or comedy. What he’s not is a lead.

Neither is Shepard. Both actors are likeable enough, amusing enough, but not compelling enough to keep your interest for 100 minutes.

Shepard’s script doesn’t do them many favors, either. The convoluted story offers opportunities for cool motorcycle tricks, and who needs a reasonable plot for a 70s TV spoof? But the laughs aren’t there, the nostalgia doesn’t work, and the film lacks the self-referential humor and off-handed fondness for the source material that made films like 21 Jump Street so much fun.

Kristin Bell is underused but fun as Jon’s unlikeable ex-wife and Vincent D’Onofrio remains a welcome presence in any film. But the rest of the supporting cast gets little opportunity to make a mark.

It’s hard to hate CHIPS. Like its leads, the film is blandly appealing but seriously in need of something bolder to hold your attention.