What would you do if you discovered not one but two crappy movies starring your least favorite Professional Wrestler in the Hulu Movie Cave? Easy solution. Watch ’em both, of course. This will be a WWE Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley action movie marathon. First up, The Chaperone. Let’s check it out, shall we?
The Chaperone (2011)
The Chaperone is an Action-“Comedy” that tried to cash in on the popular success of the Tough Guys Taking Care of Kids genre. They’re all basically rip-offs of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an undercover cop in a kindergarten, called appropriately enough Kindergarten Cop. There’s also Hulk Hogan as Mr. Nanny, Vin Diesel as The Pacifier, and The Rock in The Game Plan AND Tooth Fairy. Aside from Kindergarten Cop, these movies are all terrible. Add this one to the “terrible” tally.
HHH plays a fresh out of jail ex-con with the generic manly movie name of Ray Bradstone. Ray has turned his life around with the help of frequent call-ins to a radio show therapist, and reading many books, including one on dinosaurs which will come in handy later.
HHH has lots of buddies in prison wishing him good luck. This is the movie’s attempt to portray HHH as a nice guy. This doesn’t work because HHH always seems like a smug asshole. That’s his bread and butter character in Wrestling and you just can’t turn that switch off after 30 years. HHH does not do earnest and humble very well, or even a little bit. HHH is picked up outside the prison by comedic actor Kevin Corrigan as his former crime buddy. HHH steals Corrigan’s car in an allegedly funny bit. Apparently HHH is the wheelman for bank robbers, which is why he got sent to prison. We never see HHH involved in any high speed chases because that would cost money and WWE Studios begrudgingly spent only $3 million bucks on this turkey. Car crashes are expensive, son. We can’t have more than one of those in our action comedy. The Grand Theft Auto is the first of many crimes HHH commits.
The plot is rather convoluted yet wafer thin at the same time. HHH is estranged from his wife and teenage daughter. The wife is basically useless in this movie, so I’ll ignore her like the other characters do. The daughter is played by Modern Family’s Ariel Winter, we presume during hiatus on that show. HHH tries to get back in the good graces of the petulant girl and he basically buys her loyalty by trying to hook her up with the Cute Boy in class. Pimp out your teenage daughter, HHH, to show you’re a swell guy.
There’s also Yeardley “Lisa Simpson” Smith in a non-animated role as the hapless school principal. She doesn’t bother checking HHH’s credentials when she signs him up as a chaperone on the school field trip to the museum. I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of parole violation with a convicted felon being put in charge of kids. At the very least, it’s a bad idea.
Then there’s the usual shenanigans where HHH tries to get a job and life has changed a lot in the seven years he was in the hoosgow including Smart cars and Vegan restaurants. HHH makes his pitch for the Beef Industry, as you’d imagine he would. He mocks the scrawny Vegan guy hiring him and says, “Beef’s been good to me,” while patting his swollen bicep. And also mucho steroids, but let’s not dwell on that.
So after not fitting in to 2011 society, HHH rather abruptly agrees to pull a bank job with Corrigan. This is another crime. During the hold up, with HHH as the getaway driver, he coincidentally sees Ariel Winter getting on the school bus for the field trip to the dinosaur museum. HHH abandons the bank heist and jumps on the school bus where he has “thirty eyewitnesses saying I was on the bus before the bank robbery.” Just because you have an alibi doesn’t mean you’re not an accessory to armed robbery. The idiot criminals jump in the car and it takes a while to register that HHH is gone. They drive around and coincidentally see HHH on the school bus which leads to the biggest laugh of the movie. Of course, Corrigan crashes his car into the back of a diaper truck and gets dirty diapers all over the windshield. This joke is so bad that it comes around to funny again. That is the only time I laughed, and it was out of pity.
Notice I’ve described a lot of plot and nary any action? There’s “wacky” shenanigans in the museum where HHH uses his dinosaur knowledge to lead a tour to avoid meeting up with Corrigan, who is looking for him. The bag of stolen money gets chased around. At various points, HHH and Ariel Winter get kidnapped, and there’s also some dull cops not so hotly on their trail. There’s one horrible fight scene where HHH, due to limited mobility after years of taking shots to his knees in the ring, stands still while five guys surround him to get punched and kicked one at a time in bad slow motion. He doesn’t even pick up his wrestling trademark sledgehammer, which would’ve been an in-joke for his fans. Does HHH have any fans?
That’s it for action. There aren’t really even attempts at jokes and the Cute Boy stuff with Ariel Winter plays like bad TV After-School soap opera. There’s no action to get excited about. The tone is aimed at kids, despite lots of waving guns near kids and a joking reference to prison rape.
The movie goes out of its way to absolve HHH from any crimes, having Ariel Winter loudly declare his innocence over and over. But he was part of a felony and he’s pretty much a scumbag.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a dull, paint by numbers movie. You can tell the quality of a movie by how many lingering shots of cars pulling up and people getting out there are, in order to pad the running time with cost effective scenes. A good editor could have the inane dialogue happen in the wide shot of the car driving up and dispense with the plot that much faster. A bad movie doesn’t. A terrible movie stages many dull scenes on a cheap film school bus, in a museum, and in one of those Mardi Gras float warehouses where every movie filmed in tax haven Louisiana gets to film.
HHH is wooden, has no fighting moves, and isn’t particularly likable or funny. He’s so much better as a hated scumbag in the ring. This movie does not influence my opinion that HHH sucks. Maybe that will change with the next HHH movie I watch, but probably not.