Review of 'Starsky & Hutch'

starsky_and_hutch.jpg Set in the 1970s, this modern send-up of the classic TV series tells the story of two slightly mis-matched cops who are forced to be partners: David Starsky (Ben Stiller), a “by the book” cop loathed by other cops, and Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) who is somewhat laid back and has a much more “flexible” approach to law enforcement. When “pillar of the community”, and, on the side, drug baron Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) threatens to unleash a new untraceable version of cocaine onto the street, it is up to this mis-matched pair, assisted by Huggy Bear (a hilariously accurate portrayal by Snoop Dogg), to bring Feldman to justice.

This film has a few funny moments but generally it disappoints. There are a number of scenes of sexist stereotypes that would likely have offended even in the 1970s that don't hit the mark…assuming, and this is a big assumption, they were meant to be a parody of the times and not, perhaps more likely, just put in for titillation.

Stiller and Wilson play to type while there are some surprising turns from other cast members such as Snoop Dogg who really shines as the informant Huggy Bear. Will Ferrell as convict Big Earl steals every scene in the film and provides some of the biggest laughs as he convinces the two cops to, er, pose in return for information. There is also a wonderful cameo of the original Starsky and Hutch at the end of the film.

What the film-makers have accurately captured is in the action, often featuring the iconic red and white “Ford Gran Torino”, and the story which manages to capture a typical plot from the TV series (really bad guy needs to be taken down). The action sequences are, of course, gratuitously over the top and occasional treated for laughs with lots of high speed chases and the car shown frequently jumping high above the streets of the city.

I suppose I just never really engaged too much in this film. It was all a series of vignettes and the characters, though funny, you really don't feel too attached to. For mindless entertainment and crude laughs, I suppose it is a good a way as any to spend 101 minutes of your time but otherwise I would not bother. Perhaps if they had concentrated more on better, more human characters rather than attempting to awkwardly mirror and parody the original series rather than simply the occasional knowing nod, they may have ben more successful.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-11-14

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Studio: Dimension Films

Year: 2004

Length: 101 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Other reviewed films by Todd Phillips: