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Starsky and Hutch

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Starsky and Hutch

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson
Director: Todd Phillips
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: March 2004
Genres: Action, Comedy

*Also starring: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Vince Vaughn, Fred Williamson, Chris Penn, Terry Crews, Richard Edson, Raymond Ma, David Pressman, Amy Smart, Carmen Electra, Brande Roderick

Review by Jerry Saravia
2 stars out of 4

I remember the TV series of "Starsky and Hutch" vaguely, though I recall enjoying it. I have seen my fair share of TV shows during the 1970's, and the ones that stick out, "The Incredible Hulk" and "Starsky and Hutch" among others, are the most entertaining. I suppose that I am dumbfounded when Hollywood decides to take a crack at making a big-screen version of a notable TV show. Though some work ("The Fugitive"), just as many don't ("The Brady Bunch Movie"). "Starsky & Hutch" is the one I least expected to be made into a feature-length film (though I am sure someone will think of doing "Dukes of Hazzard" at some point). It has moments of humor, and some priceless sequences, but it is a largely bland, mediocre parody at best.

"Starsky and Hutch" is basically a prequel to the TV show, showing us how curly-haired David Starsky (Ben Stiller) and Ken "Hutch" Hutchison became partners, thanks to their boss (Fred Williamson) who is bemused by their arguments over Starsky's hair. Their new case involves the murder of a cocaine dealer's minion whose body is found by the shore. The cocaine dealer (played with complete smugness by Vince Vaughn) has discovered a new kind of cocaine that draws no scent, particularly to highly trained police dogs. In one very funny extended sequence, Starsky almost busts the dealer at his house until he discovers that the cocaine is actually artificial sweetener, or is it? When Starsky is invited to Hutch's house, while having fun with two cheerleaders, he realizes that Hutch has no sugar and so he uses the artificial sweetener. Needless to say, it really is cocaine, and Starsky flies higher than a kite! At the disco club, Starsky is in a dancing contest where he dances better than John Travolta ever could (a similar scene took place in "American Wedding").

Perhaps movies today have become so ingrained in the postmodernist irony that nothing can be taken seriously anymore. Therefore, I shouldn't have been surprised that "Starsky & Hutch" was going to go the route of pure parody. The show was meant to be taken seriously with nuggets of humor supplied by Paul Michael Glaser's smart-aleck humor as Starsky. This movie starts off as one of the blandest police movies ever made, appearing like a truly bad TV cop movie with barely any humor. The whole cocaine plot is so boring that I almost fell asleep watching it. Eventually, the movie picks up some speed after the dancing sequence and some homoerotic humor, but for many that may be too late. Stiller and Wilson have some chemistry, but I think Stiller could've taken the humor quotient much higher, especially with the ridiculous disguises.Wilson almost appears too stoned throughout, and he has none of the charisma of David Soul, the original incarnation of Hutch. It is rather fitting that the real Starsky and Hutch do show up - any other duos are mere carbon copies.

Copyright 2004 Jerry Saravia

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