Starsky & HutchThursday 11 Mar 2004
Duration: 0 minutes
Directed by Todd Phillips, starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Juliette Lewis, Chris Penn, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul.
This movie should be dudproof. Its source material has got the characters, the cars, the chases, the clothes and an entire generation of fans who threw themselves on and over the couch when those opening credits rolled all those years ago. It seems harder to mess this film up than to do it well, but that's exactly what Phillips has accomplished.
Phillips showed how good he is at comedy with the gloriously juvenile 'Road Trip' and then came up trumps again with last year's 'Old School'. He has the perfect leads in Stiller and Wilson and great back-up in his 'Old School' alumni Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. He also has a story that returns one good gag every 10 minutes and feels awkward inbetween.
Starsky (Stiller) is by the book, Hutchinson (Wilson - in a laidback performance destined to be copied in school classrooms worldwide) bends the rules a little, they're thrown together to try and solve the murder of a criminal. Feldman (Vaughn) is the drug dealer who killed him and has come up with a type of cocaine that can't be detected by police dogs - the actors, meanwhile, can't sniff out that this script needed much more work.
No-one was expecting the slickest of plots - the series didn't have them either - but when you take on a classic you have to equal or go one better than people's memories. When Phillips gets it right - the quizzing of a cheerleader in a changing room, Starksy's accidental cocaine binge - you'll be sore; the rest of the time this film does nothing that the Beastie Boys didn't do as well in their 'Sabotage' video.
At the close, Stiller and Wilson's Starsky and Hutch meet their small screen inspirations as Glaser and Soul hand over the keys to the Red Gran Torino. It's a scene made for a much better film - in this one Glaser and Soul look kind of awkward and embarrassed. You can't really blame them.