Movie Review: The most retro thing about CHIPS is the gay panic

Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, the undercover FBI agent tasked with investigating corruption in the California Highway Patrol as portrayed by Michael Peña in the new action-comedy CHIPS, is heterosexual. Normally, that isn’t something that would be deemed important enough to note in the opening paragraph of a review. But this movie, loosely based on the late ’70s-early ’80s NBC cop show starring Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada and blatantly emulating the 2012 movie adaptation of 21 Jump Street, seems to think it’s really, really important for audiences to know that Ponch is not a homosexual.

He’s so straight, in fact, that he gets defensive and angry when he’s greeted by a man in his underwear, even if they happen to be in a locker room at the time. As Ponch explains it, it’s not homophobic to have a phobia of another man’s body, as long …

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