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Overall Rating
2.88

Awesome: 9.09%
Worth A Look: 24.79%
Average33.06%
Pretty Bad: 10.74%
Total Crap: 22.31%

11 reviews, 55 user ratings


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Starsky & Hutch
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by Erik Childress

"Todd Phillips Strikes Again!"
2 stars

If on the menu you saw one of your favorite food combos of steak and twice-baked potato served with a dirty, ripe turd – would you still order it? The restaurant won’t hold the turd, however they make you believe you can just push it off your plate since the meat and vegetable is that tremendous. When it arrives though, the turd is the size of an Italian porn star and can’t help touching your food no matter which way you move it. In a related story, the film version of Starsky & Hutch arrives in theaters with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson being directed by Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Old School). Is the analogy clear enough?

The big-screen Starsky belongs to the subgenre tradition of television translations that have their content mocked. The Brady Bunch and Addams Family movies took this approach (more successfully in their sequels) but the treatment Starsky most directly resembles would be that of the Dan Aykroyd/Tom Hanks pairing for Dragnet, except with about 37 less laughs.

Dave Starsky (Stiller) is all business and new partner, Ken Hutchinson (Wilson) is all play. The new bad guy in town is respected philanthropist Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) who has created an untraceable strain of cocaine disguised as artificial sweetener. Already this is way more plot than one need know about what’s supposed to be a sardonic yukfest. But this is Todd Phillips’ world and laughs just aren’t important.

In three directorial efforts, Phillips has unprecedentedly proven that he can take some of the sharpest comic talents working today and reduce them to inanimate stage props. With the casts you somehow manage to wrangle, your job should be no more difficult then the words “cut” and “print.” You’re not making high drama here, Todd. You don’t have to restrain Robin Williams in a film about twitching poetry students. Few are quicker on their feet as Vince Vaughn and for the second straight movie, he’s got precisely one laugh and I guarantee it was an ad-lib.

Phillips idea of ingenuity is to bring back the Old School wedding singer. Remember him? The one who inappropriately added extra words to his songs? Well he’s back and there is Vaughn dancing away in the background. Except this is a “PG-13” film, so the one thing that was funny about the bit in the first place CAN’T EVEN BE USED!!!

Stiller & Wilson are as adept a comic pairing as we’ve ever seen and its because of them that Starsky & Hutch is even watchable. For the first two acts, laughs are at a bare minimum, almost pushed out of the way in favor of the one thing they are supposed to be satirizing – the routine cop drama. The bits we have consist of a cheerleader stripping down to nothing during questioning, a bad mime bit that can’t even outdo the one in Eurotrip and Starsky mistakenly taking some cocaine. The latent homosexual angle of the piece is in full comic force during this scene, but Phillips wipes all memory of it by moving the bit to a dance-off at a disco that is bereft of a single funny moment and just takes up space.

That scene, as out of place as it is, is a testament to how ill-conceived Phillips’ comic mind is. Already set in the 70s, he’s got disco, clothing and drugs as targets and they are nothing but blind spots on his highway of incompetence. You’ve already set your intentions by casting Ben & Owen so where is the satire? It could be as simple as continual snitch Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg) having ridiculous knowledge that no mortal human could know about? Instead you try to sell us another in the long string of encyclopedic bodyguard gags? Just because you shoot off an iguana’s tail, it doesn’t make you Broken Lizard (whose fabulous satire of slasher movies, Club Dread, is more effortless in its ingenuity.)

The final third does have some solid laughs, mostly thanks to Stiller’s choice for an undercover character. (“Do It.” could become the next “You’re my boy, Blue!” for ESPN broadcasters. I know I’m still saying it.) But it’s absolutely amazing how Phillips’ directorial style is to depend on material he doesn’t have and then prevent his cast’s broad range of comic from bringing anything to the table. A cameo from Will Ferrell has a solid laugh, but is then stretched into three scenes without any. Poor Jason Bateman has nothing, Carmen Electra has more dialogue than Amy Smart and NEWSFLASH: Snoop Dogg knows about grass.

Starsky & Hutch is in a unique category where its trailer appears to know how humorous the premise is but its director does not. Stiller & Wilson are such naturals that I’ve even enjoyed Duplex, Along Came Polly and The Big Bounce. Here they are constantly struggling to find the right note. Are they playing it completely straight? Shouldn’t they be winking at us AND each other? Old School has become a monster cult hit and I attribute it all to Will Ferrell’s insanity since I have yet to find one person who can mention anything funny about its final hour other than his antics. Phillips is the succubus of filmmakers, sucking the life out of all those who come in contact with him and just generally sucking all over the place. I can only assume that’s how he keeps getting jobs. By giving them.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8800&reviewer=198
originally posted: 03/05/04 17:23:12
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User Comments

4/08/10 PAUL SHORTT HUMOUROUS BUT ULTIMATELY UNSATISFYING COMEDY 2 stars
3/08/10 Samantha Pruitt surprisingly funny! some gret one-liners 4 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Flick!! 5 stars
11/30/06 lovestospuch sucked balls 1 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini boring, dull, etc. 1 stars
6/09/06 Anthony Feor A funny remake of the exeptionaly done television show 4 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth Of the 100-odd movies Stiller made in 04, this was the best. 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Weak film. Chemistry is there. Light Entertainment. 2 stars
11/05/05 JamesCole Any 5 minutes of Zoolander is funnier than this whole movie. Yuk! 1 stars
11/04/05 baseball-nut Definitely a waste of money, should've stayed home! 1 stars
11/03/05 Matt DO IT! it is a great movie, i got my first kiss while watching it. that felt good. 5 stars
7/18/05 jimmy Wicked film! - do it! 5 stars
2/24/05 ELI Extremely unfunny. Didn't laugh once 1 stars
11/16/04 Dunce Stunt casting + dull script = snoozer. The show wasn't very good. Don't waste your time. 2 stars
11/16/04 lucas jodoin di maria the best 5 stars
8/23/04 Jim Snoop Dogg & Will Ferrell walk away with the movie 4 stars
8/13/04 kRISTINE mEINHARD i WANT TO SEE ANOTHER ONE THE BOYS ARE GREAT 4 stars
8/11/04 bsho76 wake me up when it's over 2 stars
8/03/04 Kitina Blues stiller&wilson are a good duo, but vince vaughn was the best! he's adorable! 5 stars
7/27/04 lespacified I am still waiting for a plot to materialize!!The story/plot/writting sucked!!! 1 stars
7/21/04 Steve Adams DO it! Dooo it! Doooo it! 5 stars
7/20/04 Chris very funny movie 4 stars
7/19/04 twilliams606 Boring and just plain silly. 2 stars
7/18/04 ithaka peyru c'mon stiller, get your comedic balls out of the perverbial money mouth 1 stars
7/18/04 Onyeabo Monago It could have been better considering the show certainly was. 3 stars
6/02/04 Marcia Lartz Reasonably enjoyable, though far from the best that either Stiller or Wilson is capable of. 4 stars
6/01/04 James Kustes Not as funny as the other movies Owen has been in but pretty good. 4 stars
5/24/04 Butterbean Has it's moments. Those that know anything about the TV series appreciates this more. 3 stars
4/19/04 E-Rock A fun flick. Worth the money just for Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear... 4 stars
4/12/04 Rusty Grizwald If you've seen the trailer, you've seen all the jokes that might get a laugh. 1 stars
4/09/04 Michael "Hutch" Hutchinson I loved the T.V. show and I loved the movie. Freakin hilarious! 5 stars
3/28/04 Littlepurch LOVED IT! Never saw the tv series but this was brilliant and absolutely hilarious!!!! 5 stars
3/26/04 rojo Funky Fun, even if you didn't live thru the 1970's. 4 stars
3/21/04 argnoowarp This movies captures none of the excitement nor the buddy chemistry of the original. 1 stars
3/19/04 Chris Stiller is a vinager douche 1 stars
3/18/04 Nikolai I was alone in the downtown LA theatre and I left when the candy ran out. 1 stars
3/17/04 kevin watts i thought it was very good.chemistry is there among the stars. 4 stars
3/17/04 Jin Stiller continues his downward slide. 1 stars
3/17/04 Alfred Guy Starsky and Hutch was 70s style at its best. The stuff that is copied poorly today. 4 stars
3/16/04 alex it's not awesome, but worth a look, Y2M is right about them two having good chemistry 4 stars
3/09/04 KingNeutron "Menage" wasn't needed, but Vaughn made a good villain; tighter direction needed in spots. 3 stars
3/09/04 Wendranh so much more fun than the TV show was 4 stars
3/09/04 W. Frederick Zimmerman the series was good, the movie a horrible idea 1 stars
3/08/04 veddermatic Pretty funny if you are over 30. Semi funny if not. 4 stars
3/08/04 nick2k i liked it....liked it more than 'old school'. 4 stars
3/08/04 Aunt Ralph Breezy, Funny, add a star if you're gay 3 stars
3/08/04 Carver S. Stiller and Wilson need to get off each other's jocks. 1 stars
3/08/04 cathy paterson i loved the series, i liked the movie 4 stars
3/07/04 Siamese Toga Princess STARSKY!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
3/06/04 Kooler Stinky. Stiller and Wilson's stock has completely dried up wtih this one. 1 stars
3/06/04 Andrew Dunn Abomination..... but I still love that car after all these years.. 2 stars
3/06/04 Scrunci Funny as hell 5 stars
3/05/04 Brian worth a few chuckles 4 stars
3/05/04 Ray This movie was a mistake 2 stars
3/04/04 ajay saw a sneak preview last week. pretty funny, but not "zoolander" funny. :) 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Mar-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  08-Apr-2004




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