Directed by Stephen Herek
If there ever was a movie you wouldn't expect to get bogged down by a bevy of needless intellectual material, it's The Chaperone. Yet this new release from equally new WWE Studios—which creates star vehicles for their various wrestling personalities—serves up Sun Tzu and Kierkegaard references alongside trite emotional redemption and facepalm-inducing jokes—a mind-blowing mix.
The Chaperone starts out as a yawn-inducing family drama; things don't get too convoluted until Ray Bradstone (Paul "Triple H" Levesque), only just released from a seven year stint in the federal penitentiary, offers to chaperone his daughter's middle school field trip to New Orleans, hoping to elude some ex-con ex-friends who want his head on a platter. Will Ray win back his estranged daughter's affections? Will the children make it back to school alive? What about those pesky guys following them around with shotguns?
The Chaperone's flimsy shell of plot solely exists to let "Triple H" grunt and groan his way through various situations with people much smaller than him, which end in glorified zingers, such as a tacked on "...or you'll get a detention," to a monologue that includes, among other things, threats of hard labor. Smacked together with this are various attempts at "nudge-nudge" references from deep left field. Delivered, usually, by possibly the most precocious 12-year-olds in cinema history, who spout quotes from The Art of War, hack into cell phone networks via their iPads with little visible effort, and refer to some My Chemical Romance-esque "emo" band as "definitely Kierkegaardian in tone". The attempts on the part of the writers to juxtapose the hulking wrestler with his preteen counterparts, while not out of place, come off as half-assed and perplexing more than humorous or even possibly endearing: the banter meshes poorly with the poop jokes and father-daughter bonding.