Movie review

Starsky & Hutch
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince
Vaughn, Juliette Lewis, Snoop Dogg

Director : Todd Phillips

Starsky & HutchWhen the first episodes of Starsky & Hutch hit television in the 1970s they were known for their lengthy car chases, uncompromising shoot-outs and a real tough pair of cops who didn't take no for an answer. Admittedly, a comedy remake of the TV show sounds far-fetched and hard to pull off, but director Todd Phillips has just broken the mould . . .

The last two Todd Phillips movies I saw were the last two everyone saw; Road Trip and Old School. Both were great fun, packed with action and slick humour, and so it seems right that if anyone were to make a film of Starsky & Hutch that had more of a comic angle, he would be the man.
    A lot of the cast have been picked by Phillips from Road Trip and Old School: Vince Vaughn is the drug-dealing bad guy (with an even worse moustache), Will Ferrell, last seen in the rib-tickling Christmas cracker Elf, is thrown in the mix as a warped inmate with a fetish for dragons and belly buttons. There are more names and faces Phillips is familiar with, and in the scene where Reece (Vaughn)'s daughter has her bah mitzvah we are once again pleasured by the crude vocal talents of the fantastic wedding singer from Old School.
    Snoop Dogg is impressive as Huggy Bear, and after a spate of rather unsuccessful gangster films, he makes his big break one to remember as a character more bent than Owen Wilson's nose.

The pace of the film is fast and there are some genuinely funny scenes - we see Starsky & Hutch in a completely different light. Phillips still respects the original show though, and the effective use of 1970s style external camera shots pay homage to the classic cop shows of the decade.
    It is and it isn't worth comparing the show and the film. It is because it's interesting to see how the film has been handled and marketed, and how the comedy parts of the film relate to the no-bullshit approach of the series. But then again it isn't because this is an individual film, and a good one at that. The film walks on the tightrope of humour - if it falls off to the left it becomes a spoof, and if it falls to the right it is no more than a serious and lengthy TV show. The balance is spot-on.

Both Wilson and Stiller handle their roles with notable screenplay, Stiller as Starsky, the strict cop who does it by the book, and Wilson as Hutch, the liberal man who lets things slide if he can have a slice of the pie.
    Snoop is cooler than ice and Carmen Electra is once again the hottest girl in Hollywood - two more reasons to see the movie. The cameo appearances from Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul (the original Starsky & Hutch) clearly shows that they agree this is a more than worthy big screen transition.
    Action-packed, humorous and uncompromisingly stylish, Starsky & Hutch is an unbeatable Hollywood blockbuster.

:: Graham Drummond

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