Starsky & Hutch

Starsky and Hutch helped refine the mix of action, wisecracking and intense male bonding between mismatched partners that made buddy-cop pictures what they are today, and it went The Mod Squad's "one black, one white, one blond" formula one better, adding a redhead — the cherry Ford Gran Torino that hogged the spotlight like a beauty queen. This feature-film...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Starsky and Hutch helped refine the mix of action, wisecracking and intense male bonding between mismatched partners that made buddy-cop pictures what they are today, and it went The Mod Squad's "one black, one white, one blond" formula one better, adding a redhead — the cherry Ford Gran Torino that hogged the spotlight like a beauty queen. This feature-film ups the comedy, tones down the violence and makes hay with the homoerotic subtext that led in-the-know types to dub the original series the gayest thing on prime time — though The Six Million Dollar Man gave it a bionic run for its money. By the book, second-generation Bay City detective David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is so irritating that he's run through 12 partners in four years. Malibu Ken Hutchinson (Owen Wilson), "Hutch" to his friends, is so laid back and lackadaisical about rules that he supplements his income robbing bookies in Chinatown. Their antics have landed both on exasperated Captain Doby's (Fred Williamson) personal blacklist, so he makes them partners. A body in the bay and a tip from Hutch's flamboyant snitch, Huggy Bear (Snoop Dog, who abandons Antonio Fargas' camp mannerisms in favor of his own brand of retro mack-daddy cool), puts them on the trail of big-time cocaine dealer Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn). Feldman and his partner, Kevin (Jason Bateman), are about to flood Bay City with a genetically altered form of coke that fools drug-sniffing dogs and experienced cops alike into thinking it's just artificial sweetener. Starsky and Hutch's unorthodox attempts to get the goods on the drug lords, whom everyone believes are respectable Bay City businessmen, get them into further hot water... especially the embarrassing floor show they put on for freaky jailbird informant Big Earl (an uncredited Will Ferrell) and their undercover infiltration of Feldman's daughter's Bat Mitzvah, which ends with Starsky killing her pretty pony. Director/cowriter Todd Phillips' relatively clever conceit involves playing the dated material straight while subtly undermining it; the sappy '70s love songs that underscore the detectives' scenes together are a pretty good running gag. But Stiller's performance throws the whole enterprise out of whack — he's a grotesque mass of tics, twitches and swaggering macho shoulder action — and too much of the script relies on smug, lazy strip-mining of second-rate pop-culture sources for no better reason that to give hipsters an opportunity to snicker at disco fashions.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Starsky and Hutch helped refine the mix of action, wisecracking and intense male bonding between mismatched partners that made buddy-cop pictures what they are today, and it went The Mod Squad's "one black, one white, one blond" formula one better, adding… (more)

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