Starsky & Hutch


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Ben Stiller as Dave Starsky
Owen Wilson as Ken Hutchinson
Vince Vaughn as Reese Feldman
Juliette Lewis as Kitty
Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear
Amy Smart as Holly
Carmen Electra as Staci
Jason Bateman as Friday
George Cheung as Chau
Patton Oswalt as Disco DJ
Fred Williamson as Captain Doby
Will Ferrell as Big Earl

Starsky & Hutch takes a while to get rolling, but Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller are eventually able to offer up a few good laughs.

Based on the 1970’s TV series of the same name, Starsky & Hutch tells the story of two police detectives with very opposite personalities. Dave Starsky is a no-nonsense, by-the-book cop who sticks to the rules no matter the consequences. Ken Hutchinson, or ‘Hutch’, is a laid back cop who bends (and occasionally breaks) the rules in order to get by. When these two are paired as partners, the sparks quickly fly.

Their first case is to solve the murder of a small time thug. The trail of evidence eventually leads them to Reese Feldman, a rich and seemingly legitimate businessman. In reality he and his partner Friday have created a new form of cocaine that is undetectable by drug sniffing dogs. They intend to distribute 2 tons of the cocaine to local drug dealers. Their plan is foolproof except for the fact that Starsky & Hutch are on their trail. Our heroes will have to overcome their differences, and get a little help from Huggy Bear, if they’re to save the day.

This film is rated PG-13 for drug content, sexual situations, partial nudity, language and some violence.

What Worked:
I didn’t watch Starsky & Hutch episodes when I was a kid, so I can’t comment on how the movie compares to the TV series. I can safely say, though, this movie is more parody that a straight adaptation of the show. You’ll see occasional tips of the hat to the show like recreations of scenes from the series opening or cameos by the original Starsky & Hutch, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul. But beyond that there’s not much similarity.

The movie isn’t quite as laugh out loud funny as I was expecting, but it does have a few really funny moments. A scene where Starsky & Hutch interview a prison inmate played by Will Ferrel is absolutely hilarious. I don’t want to ruin it, but he makes our heroes do some pretty bizarre things before he’ll give them info. Another scene where a knife throwing kid gets the better of the cops is also shockingly hilarious. They give new meaning to sticking a knife in someone’s back. I must also admit that I laughed during a tasteless scene when Starsky & Hutch interrogate a cheerleader as she changes in a locker room. The looks on their faces are priceless.

If you like Owen Wilson, you’ll like him as Hutch. Wilson is pretty much the same character no matter what movie he’s in and Starsky & Hutch is no different. Fortunately, I like the humor of Wilson, so it wasn’t a problem for me. Ben Stiller is also good, though annoying, as Dave Starsky. He’s funniest when his character is undercover. One of his most amusing moments is towards the end when he goes undercover as a slimy Italian businessman who forcefully tells people, “Do it.” (You’ll just have to see it for yourself.) The supporting cast is also generally good with Vince Vaughn as over-the-top bad guy Reese Feldman, Jason Bateman as his partner Friday, and Amy Smart as the ditzy cheerleader Holly.

Starsky’s car also seems to be one of the stars of the movie. They do some cool stunts with it. There are also some great, destructive bloopers with it during the credits where their stunts don’t go quite as planned.

The music in the film is also an impressive mix of 70’s tunes. They include classic rock, disco, funk, and more. You’ll more than likely find yourself tapping your toe during the film.

What Didn’t Work:
Though the movie had some really funny moments, most of the film was only mildly amusing. There wasn’t even a really big laugh until about a half hour into the story. Generally, most of the jokes only drew little chuckles from the audiences.

Snoop Dogg was also terrible as Huggy Bear. The guy is a terrible actor and he looked stoned through most of his performance. I admire him for letting himself be the butt of the joke in a few scenes, but overall I think they should have found someone with a bit more personality. Huggy Bear’s iguana had more personality than Snoop Dogg. Juliette Lewis also seems to be slumming in her role as Kitty. She’s terrible as Vaughn’s mistress and you really have to wonder why she agreed to do this movie.

I also have to add that though it was good to see the original Starsky & Hutch in the film, their cameo seemed a bit cheesy and forced. It would have been cooler if they could have worked them in another way.

The Bottom Line:
It takes a while to get rolling, but Starsky & Hutch is eventually able to offer up a few good laughs. That makes it worth checking out. Whether you want to see it on the big screen or at home on DVD is up to you.