Starsky and Hutch

Starsky and Hutch is a comedy film based on the popular 70´s TV series. You never know what to expect when Hollywood decides to make a film out of something like a TV series or game, usually it doesn´t turn out well. Luckily this movie works mainly because it doesn´t take the source material seriously; instead of a cop thriller you get a daft comedy with gags aplenty.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as Starsky and Hutch

For those who remember the original series it is funny to see a send up complete with the famous car and incredibly cheesy outfits. However the tribute ends there as the film is hijacked by the actors who seem to play characters familiar to them rather than the characters they have been cast as.

Ben Stiller seems to make about 20 films a year and he excels in causing embarrassing social situations and freaking out for comic effect but we have seen him do it countless times now and you have to wonder whether he is capable of anything else. Owen Wilson equally reprises his laidback laconic character which he is very likeable as but we have also seen many times before. As Starsky and Hutch they aren´t really convincing and the film does feel a bit like an expensive Hollywood vehicle for the comedy stars of the day.

Starsky is the overzealous anal retentive of the pair and Hutch is the dubious half-assed guy who always comes out on top. The plot is pretty ridiculous as the two failing cops are partnered on an undercover mission to catch some drug dealers using a jailbird rehab program as a front for their nefarious activities. There is plenty of fast driving, some running down alleyways and lots of pretty girls along the way.

The original Starsky and Hutch

The supporting cast are mostly good. Fred Williamson effortlessly provides the angry police chief, Snoop Dogg is aptly cast as Huggy Bear and Vince Vaughn is the smug bad guy. Juliette Lewis pops up as the villain´s dim girlfriend in a pretty rubbish part (I think she can do better than this). There are also appearances from Chris Penn, Carmen Electra and the manic Will Ferrell.

The gags come thick and fast as the pair blunder their way through the underworld. The disguises are funny, the references to Starsky´s mum are great and I liked the disco competition featuring a dance battle between a coked up Starsky and Har-Mar Superstar. Some of the scenes are corny and the action is always predictable but the scenes that work are very funny. I especially liked the visit to the prison to see Big Earl (Will Ferrell) and the crashing of the Bat Mitzvah where Starsky manages to shoot a little girl´s pony.

The film builds to the usual climax although the gags continue right to the end. There is a brief cameo from the original Starsky and Hutch to end the film and it was kind of sad watching these tired looking old guys grudgingly handing over to Stiller and Wilson. It seems a bit humiliating for them to form the butt of the joke for the entire film like some bit of 70´s kitsch briefly enjoying an ironic comeback.

This film is exactly what you would expect from reading the cover, "From the creators of Old School and Road Trip....starring Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller". If you like the sound of that then you´ll enjoy the film. An entertaining hour and half holiday for your brain with some good laughs which should leave you with a general sense of well being.

Reviewed by Simon Hill

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