Starsky & Hutch (2004)

reviewed by
David N. Butterworth

A film review by David N. Butterworth
Copyright 2004 David N. Butterworth
*1/2 (out of ****)

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson share a genuine chemistry that many Hollywood couples, I suspect, would die for.  Witness their presenting stints at the last two Oscar® ceremonies, in which a confident Wilson refuses to suffer Stiller's put upon fool lightly (as is typically the case).  Their "performance" was one of the funniest on a night that featured Jim Carrey paying tribute to Blake Edwards, a tough act to follow by anyone's standards.  On screen, they've appeared in five films together including "Meet the Parents," "The Royal Tenenbaums," and now "Starsky & Hutch," a Todd ("Road Trip") Phillips-directed remake of the '70's TV show that starred David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser as a couple of West Coast city cops.  The biggest disappointment, however, is that the Stiller/Wilson mystique seems to have been jettisoned along with everything else that makes a fun film fun.  Other than by-the-books David Starsky's red-and-white striped Gran Torino and "assistance" from a flamboyant snitch/pimp named Huggy Bear (hip-hopper Snoop Dogg snagging the role of his limited acting career) there's very little here that reminds us of the original.  Unless, of course, you count the (surprise!) surprise cameo by the real life Soul and Glaser who, looking as embarrassed as they are long in the teeth, show up late in the proceedings as used car salesman.  The action is standard, mostly sub-standard, in places, the laughs either aren't there or are telegraphed 20 minutes ahead of time, and the chemistry we've come to know and love never really rekindles let alone ignites.  With Vince Vaughn as the fake moustache sporting villain and Juliette Lewis as his dim bulb masseuse, Kitty.

David N. Butterworth

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