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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.02%
Worth A Look: 24.59%
Pretty Bad: 10.66%
Total Crap: 22.13%

11 reviews, 56 user ratings

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Starsky & Hutch
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Okay Stiller/Wilson vehicle, but they deserve better."
3 stars

I didn't mind seeing 'Starsky & Hutch'; it's amiable enough, and there are a couple of genuinely hilarious moments. But guys as smart and witty as Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are just wasting themselves on '70s TV nostalgia.

This isn't a gloriously over-the-top update, like the Charlie's Angels movies; it was made, we're told, as if it had been a funnier, unused pilot for the actual TV series, and as if the stars were replaced by David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser. As an excuse to get Stiller and Wilson together again, though, it passes muster. Barely.

My memories of the show are very dim, so I can't say for sure whether the movie's characterizations -- David Starsky (Stiller) as an anal-retentive stickler for the rules, Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson (Wilson) as a laid-back slacker who isn't above swiping pocket money from a corpse -- are true to the source. It's certain, though, that Wilson and particularly Stiller are cast utterly to type here; they're essentially playing templates of themselves. If you like Stiller's neurotic control-freak shtick (to which he brought some depth and pathos in The Royal Tenenbaums) and Wilson's drawling aw-shucks routine (ditto), Starsky & Hutch gives you that. But, having seen Stiller and Wilson stretch in little-seen dramas (Permanent Midnight and The Minus Man, respectively), I know they're slumming here.

Which isn't a huge sin, considering the pleasantly mediocre comedy they're in. Directed by Todd Phillips, who made the instant-cult raunch comedies Road Trip and Old School, the film sometimes seems on the verge of outgrowing its PG-13 rating; the moments people will talk about for weeks are in short supply here, though I laughed heartily at the outcome of a meeting between the cops and an imprisoned freak played by Will Ferrell, and there's some classic awestruck expressions on Stiller and especially Wilson in the presence of a blithely naked college cheerleader. The guys also get it on with two other randy cheerleaders (Carmen Electra and Amy Smart), who also get it on with each other, and Starsky and Hutch themselves have enough homoerotic moments to fuel reams of fangirl slash fiction (if these guys have fangirls).

The official villain is Vince Vaughn, doing his standard yeah-whatever routine as a drug dealer who's figured out how to make cocaine that's safe from drug-sniffing dogs. He never gets a real showcase scene, though, and Juliette Lewis is sadly wasted as his bubbly girlfriend (while Molly Sims, as his wife, is hardly in the movie). At his daughter's bat mitzvah, Vaughn launches into a cringe-inducing ballad, but is interrupted by Starsky and Hutch; the scene would've been funnier if he'd been allowed to continue. What follows, as his daughter gets a double surprise for her birthday, might've been good if the trailer hadn't spoiled it.

Unlike Charlie's Angels, which came out of Drew Barrymore's desire to do a megabucks grrl-power adventure that teenage girls could enjoy, Starsky & Hutch really has no reason for being other than smirking at the '70s and at the TV show. (I've gotten this far without mentioning Snoop Dogg as the new Huggy Bear; that's because he doesn't bring anything fresh. Two of Huggy's gunmen, swapping arcane bits of data about Luxembourg, get more laughs.) I shudder to think what the movie would've been like without Stiller and Wilson. At the end, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser are schlepped out for a cameo, looking much the worse for wear (Soul is nearly unrecognizable), and the moment feels uncomfortably as if the movie is laughing at them.

At the very least, contrasting the two old-timers, who never quite made it after the show ended (Glaser has directed some films, the most memorable being 'The Running Man,' which isn't saying much), with the young, handsome, far more successful Stiller and Wilson has a whiff of arrogance, as if the entirety of the TV series were a rough draft for Stiller and Wilson's goof. 'Starsky & Hutch' was the career peak for Soul and Glaser; it won't be for Stiller and Wilson, one hopes.

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originally posted: 01/10/07 16:36:37
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User Comments

4/25/16 Katrina Weiss Just watch the original series. 3 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
8/11/04 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
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  05-Mar-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2004



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