Starsky and Hutch

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Starsky and Hutch
Review (6/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Starsky & Hutch is the latest 1970's television series to hit the big screen. Starring Ben Stiller as the rather uptight Detective Dave Starsky and Owen Wilson as the ladies man Detective Ken Hutchinson, the story revolves around the two cops trying to bust drug kingpin Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) with the help of their trusty snitch Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg). The movie features a handful of actors in smaller parts including Juliette Lewis as Kitty, the rather portly Chris Penn as Manetti, the vivacious Carmen Electra, Amy Smart, the almost unrecognizable Jason Bateman, Will Farrell and an excellent appearance by the original Starsky and Hutch, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul.

Director Todd Phillips, whose other works include Road Trip and Old School, takes a comedic approach to the movie and for the most part, it works. The movie does generate some genuine laughs but the humour tends to be rather tame and not as risky as one would expect from someone who has directed the likes of Old School and Road Trip. Starsky & Hutch benefits from its solid cast - Stiller and Wilson are excellent, Vaughn is okay and the cameo by Will Ferrell is quite funny and that is coming from someone who has never been a huge fan of Ferrell. Even Snoop Dogg manages to hold his own. But I have to admit that once the movie was finished, I did not feel 100% satisfied. Sure I laughed out loud on more than one occasion. But I just felt for a highly anticipated action-comedy, there was not nearly enough action and not nearly enough comedy to make me entirely happy. One moment that comes to mind is a big dance-off that occurs in the middle of the movie. The events leading up to and the actual dance-off focuses on Stiller's character, but the whole scene could have been much better than it plays out to be. A scene with Starsky working out on the beach was rather lame and a couple of scenes where the boys go undercover are not all that funny.

Overall, I would say that although Starsky & Hutch is a modestly entertaining movie, it is not nearly as good as I would have expected or would have liked. I know I am going to get dumped on for saying this, but I found the Charlie's Angels films to be more entertaining than Starsky & Hutch. I mean, I did not love those movies either but at least I felt very entertained. It pains me to say that because I am a huge fan of Ben Stiller, a fan of Vince Vaughn and even a fan of Owen Wilson. But I really left the theatre feeling only moderately entertained, with no inclination to ever see this movie again or to even care if they make a sequel.

Now, with that being said, I can see this movie having great box office success and making money hand over fist. So does it really matter what I think? All I will say is do not go into this movie expecting the next great cop, buddy, comedy, action thriller. And don't expect to see Ben Stiller being anywhere close to being as funny as he was in There's Something About Mary. If you go into it with only modest expectations, you will probably be modestly satisfied and I suppose in this day and age, that is all we can really ask for.

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