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Starsky And Hutch (PG-13) (2004)

Warner Bros.

Official Site

Director: Todd Phillips

Producers: William Blinn, Scott Budnik

Written by: Todd Williams, Scott Armstrong

Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Carmen Electra, Amy Smart, Juliette Lewis, Fred Williamson


Well, what can you say? It’s your basic Stiller-Wilson-type comedy—i.e., an enter-with-low-expectations, the-gags-are-usually-more-stupid-than-funny-but-aww-don’t-you-love-those-guys kind of flick. If you liked Zoolander, you’ll definitely be a fan of Starsky And Hutch. If you didn’t, well, its better than anything UPNs got on on a Friday night. Although the movie is entirely predictable and the characters are mere repeats of other Stiller and Wilson roles, the two carry out their pre-packaged personalities so well that at least we know they’re having fun.

S&H follows the capers of straight-laced David Starsky (Stiller) and charmingly crooked Ken Hutchinson (Wilson), two cops who, through their own goof-ups get paired together by their exasperated chief (Williamson). Stiller’s and Wilson’s characters must (once again) learn to see past their differences and band together for a greater purpose. In this particular film that purpose is battling a Bay City drug cartel run by Reese Feldman (Vaughn). With his handlebar mustache, pointed silk lapels, and girlfriend-on-the-side (Lewis), Vaughn is delightfully sleazy as the crass drug dealer. If the whole acting thing ever dries up for Vaughn, he’s definitely got a career as a used-car salesman—that boy could make sand paper feel like a Jheri curl.

Although the plot is set in the 1970s, it mercifully leaves the era jokes at a minimum, really only bringing attention to the period with an eye-rolling disco dance-off featuring Stiller and a classic ’70s soundtrack (because we all know you can’t chase a criminal in a Ford Torino without that wow-chicka-wow-chicka-wow beat urging you on). Most of the humor stems (or is supposed to, anyway) from Starsky and Hutch’s conflicted relationship, taking a tip or 20 from “The Odd Couple.” Starsky is the responsible, anal-retentive guy who goes absolutely nutters when he does let loose, and Hutch is that worry-free womanizer who, when you get down to it, really has a heart of gold. *Sigh* What on earth would Hollywood do without its stock characters? Oh, that’s right, produce good movies.

Filling out the cast are Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg), Hutch’s pimped-out street informant; Big Ed (Ferrell), an alternative-lifestyled inmate with a fetish for dragons; and Staci and Holly (Electra and Smart), the cops’ beautiful and thoroughly brilliant love interests. (Did you catch the sarcasm on the phrase “thoroughly brilliant”? Oh, cuz it’s there—lots of it.) Although I was at first skeptical about yet another musician-turned-actor starring in the film, Snoop Dogg surprised me with a fairly decent performance. Granted, it wasn’t exactly Shakespeare, but I give him full props for being able to say things like, “I lay it out so you can play it out,” with a straight face. And as far as Ferrell goes, well, it’s Ferrell—whats not to love? There’s no midnight streaking in this one (sorry ladies), but I can promise you that his character in S&H is just as outrageous.

The bad thing about Starsky And Hutch is that I laughed more at the outtakes than at the movie itself. The good thing about Starsky And Hutch is that I didn’t really have any expectations for it anyway. It’s one of those films you just kind of shrug and say “eh” about. It’s definitely not a masterpiece, but it didn’t give me any reason to cry, either. If nothing else, Starsky And Hutch will make for a good compromise if ever there’s a stalemate between Torque and Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! And may God preserve us from that day.

—Emily Younger


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