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Ben Stiller
Owen Wilson
Snoop Dogg
Vince Vaughn
Amy Smart
Carmen Electra
Will Ferrell.
Todd Phillips.
Scott Armstrong
Todd Phillips
John O'Brien.
Running Time
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Starsky & Hutch

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Overly dedicated Detective David Starsky (Stiller) is forced to work with overly laid-back Ken ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson (Wilson), whose only angle is his connection to street-savvy informant Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg). A lead on a new type of undetectable cocaine takes them to the door of businessman and philanthropist Reese Feldman (Vaughn)…

Starsky & Hutch the movie is, of course, a very bad idea. The TV show ran from 1975 to 1979, which would put any remaining fans in their late thirties, not exactly a marketing man’s ideal movie audience. And, unlike some later variants on the buddy-buddy cop genre, Starsky & Hutch does not live on in syndication — it has dated too badly. But it is precisely this unflattering passage of time that makes Starsky & Hutch a perfect property for the kind of comedy retrofit that worked wonders for that other unlamented bunch, the Bradys.

Apart from a deadly accurate spoof of the opening titles, some spot-on casting and the obligatory car chase, Starsky & Hutch the movie does not do a rich trade in its TV progenitor.

The satire, such as it is, has a bigger target in mind: the 1970s. Unlike the show itself, the ’70s do live on in syndication, an easy and obliging victim for good-natured ribbing. For those who lived through it, 1970s America was probably dominated by Watergate and Vietnam; but for those of us who experienced the decade second-hand, it looks like one long roller-disco of bad fashion and cheesy tunes. And Starsky & Hutch never knowingly passes up a cheap shot. From clunky technology to chunky knitwear, all the signature naffness of the decade is lovingly lampooned.

Director Todd Phillips does dig a little deeper in exploiting the gay undertones of practically all cop duos — the titular pair follow a classic love story arc, falling for each other, then falling out before making up again. And he strikes a particularly rich vein with the comic exposition of an interesting and rather arresting phenomenon: everything that was considered macho then is utterly camp now.

Old School director Phillips is admirably old school in his approach; in places the movie looks not unlike a failed pilot for the original series, and the endearingly ramshackle production extends to a plot held together with spit and goodwill. But nobody cares if cut-to-the-gag editing strips action and logic to the bone, just so long as the jokes are worth waiting for. And even if Starsky & Hutch is more consistently amusing than laugh-out-loud hilarious, the hit rate is always high.

Phillips’ Old School alumni Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell pitch up with a coupla oddballs and, as Huggy Bear, Snoop Dogg proves more than a one-line casting joke. But even when the Gran Torino screeches across screen, there’s never any doubt that this is Wilson and Stiller’s movie.

On their sixth outing together, the real-life friends finally get an equal share of the spotlight, and the result is the best buddy pairing in recent memory. In stark contrast to the look-at-me antics of many above-the-line comedians, Wilson and Stiller are as generous as they are evenly matched. Stiller is apparently still on a one-man quest to redefine the limits of shame, while every line drawled out the corner of Wilson’s odd-shaped mouth qualifies as a genuine comic aside.

Despite the fact that neither Stiller nor Wilson receives a writing credit, the movie cleaves closer in spirit to the supremely silly Zoolander than anything else.

Goofy and easygoing, Starsky & Hutch is not exactly politically correct, but you’d be hard pushed to find a single mean frame. This is the kind of movie where cocaine is easily confused with Canderel. The kind of movie where the villain just wants to buy a pony for his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. The kind of movie where sexual threesomes are organised by Owen Wilson and not John Leslie. In other words: sweet.

Warm and fuzzy rather than cool and edgy, Starsky & Hutch is a perfect vehicle for the likeable Stiller and Wilson. It may not be big or clever but neither are we, which might explain why we laughed so much.

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Starsky & Hutch

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Empire Star Rating

RE: The biggest laugh...

Just checked the article - I've edited the title  ... More

Posted by elab49 at 14:33, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post

RE: The biggest laugh...

Why are all the replies to a review of the first series of Starsky & Hutch about the movie? DIT: So it appears the original post just had a misleading title. ... More

Posted by AxlReznor at 14:30, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post

RE: The biggest laugh...

Starsky & Hutch (2004) Always thought it was kinda funny that two undercover cops drive around in a souped up Gran Torino with a custom paint job. What's that noise? oh its the fuzz in their muscle car. The first parody of one of the two biggest TV shows with cool cars, the other being 'The Dukes of Hazzard'. Its nothing too outrageously original overall, a simple drug kingpin needs to go down and the cool duo are on the case. Its not really about the plot though, this film is ju... More

Posted by Phubbs at 14:25, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post

The biggest laugh...

...was the scene where Ben Stiller was high on, I think, cocaine and listened with increasing admiration and awe and love to Owen Wilson's sweet little guitar song...once the birds started chirping along my ribs were beginning to ache. Jokes about music on drugs always crack me up. The film itself was ok, with a few amusing moments. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dhollseed at 16:24, 30 August 2007 | Report This Post

i loved it... ... More

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Posted by luvinfilms at 15:06, 21 March 2006 | Report This Post

Crap, unfunny, crap!! ... More

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Posted by carolab at 20:52, 21 January 2006 | Report This Post

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