a critiQal film review Starsky & Hutch (2004)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: In the 70's, Detectives Starsky (Stiller) and Hutch (Wilson) are two totally different cops - and now they are partners. When they hear of a big drug shipment coming in to their city, they must put aside their differences to catch the big villain behind it all (Vaughn). Luckily, local informer Huggy Bear (Dogg) is along to help out these two.

727 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 38s)
  • ...just fast-forward to the end for the cameos and the car from the 70's series, and skip the rest.

Yet another 70’s TV show has been turned into a new movie. Since Charlie’s Angels (2000) went over so well, we’re starting to see a plethora of those old 70’s shows being converted into “fresh” new films (S.W.A.T. (2003), Scooby-Doo (2002), etc.).

So, maybe you ended up checking out some of the other films, and you’re undecided about whether to see another. That’s what I was thinking so figured I’d give Starsky & Hutch a try.

Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller have come together a few times before (apparently in 3 other movies, but I’ve only seen one). They definitely were a surprisingly good team in the one other film I saw them in: Zoolander. They turned what looked to be a pretty idiotic movie, and ended up making it one of the funniest films of the year when it came out.

But, it may have been Ben’s natural airheadedness (if that’s even a word) that helped that movie out so much – after all, he was supposed to be a moron in that movie. Starsky & Hutch again teamed up this duo, and I went in with high hopes. But I was sadly disappointed. The main problem may not be their fault, however – it seemed to lie more with the director.

It seemed as if the director couldn’t decide whether to make this true to the original TV series, or whether to just play up the laughs – and ended up waffling in between the two throughout the entire film.

This didn’t give Ben and Owen much of a chance to get into their roles, because they didn’t know how to approach it – would it be a true homage, or was it just going to played for laughs? This indecisiveness comes through in every scene of the movie, both through the actors and through the storyline itself. It’s a shame. If they had decided on one firm direction to go in, the movie would have been much the better for it – and Owen and Ben wouldn’t have been so wasted.

Snoop, on the other hand, is another story entirely. Back when I was in college, he released his first album, “Doggystyle”, and basically helped bring gangsta rap back into the mainstream. Try playing that CD, then watching this film, and you’ll just shake your head in shame.

Snoop has gotten away from what he was best at, and is just selling his “bad boy” image – when he’s seemingly doing everything he can to humiliate himself on screen. He could have turned pimp Huggy Bear into a really amazing character, but he failed miserably. He seemed to just do whatever anyone else wanted him to do, and didn’t really contribute any of his own “doggystyle” into the character, so it becomes just another cardboard character in the film.

Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis, Carmen Electra and all the rest are so under-used in Starsky & Hutch, it’s amazing they are listed as main characters. Their scenes are so brief and unimportant that it’s a wonder why any of them even signed up for the film.

The storyline may have been taken straight from the 70’s TV series, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because, no matter how good it may have been in the 70’s, the plot shows so much wear by this point, it’s laughable – unintentionally.

In fact, the whole buddy cop idea has been so overused that it’s laughable to even suggest doing yet another buddy cop movie these days. And unfortunately, that’s the funniest part of the film. The jokes are just plain dumb, and the characters are so thin you can almost see through them.

The only thing that saves this film from being totally awful are the appearances of the original Starsky and Hutch, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, and, of course, the car. That’s about it. It’s nice to get that little bit of nostalgic return to the 70’s, so if you see the movie, basically just fast-forward to the end. That way, you get to see the return of the originals and get to check out the car, without sitting through the rest of this boring film.

Plus, that way you don’t see the poor things they put the car through, and can remember Starsky and Hutch the way they should be remembered – from their classic 70’s TV series.

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