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David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is a by-the-book cop who thinks nothing
about destroying thousands of dollars of property to apprehend a mugger
who has stolen only a few dollars. Ken Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) is the
complete opposite--it seems the only reason he has become a cop is that
it makes a life of crime much easier. Captain Doby (Fred Williamson)
can't stand either of them, but hits upon the brilliant idea of pairing
them. When they begin investigating a murder that has ties to a
prominent millionaire, the best qualities of each just might start
influencing the other.
Although I always wait to read others' reviews and comments until I've seen a film and written my own review (I do not want to be swayed or influenced in any way by other opinions), I can imagine that quite a few people would not like Starsky and Hutch. To really enjoy it, one would have to alter their expectations to what director Todd Phillips has chosen to deliver instead--a clever film that is both an absurdist spoof and a respectful, faithful homage at the same time. Creating that combination is a difficult feat, but Phillips was largely successful.
The combination means that Starsky and Hutch is not aiming to be over-the-top hilarious, and it's also not aiming to be overly consistent with the characters and tone of the original pilot film and series. Viewers expecting either are likely to be a bit disappointed. However, if you're a fan of gritty 1970s films as well as a fan of Stiller and Wilson's usual material, you should find much to love here.
Phillips has remarkably captured the look and feel of a typical 1970s film. The costumes, hairstyles, and overall production design are also perfect for a subtle spoof on the 1970s, and given the source material, even the plot has the slightly formulaic, slightly hokey, almost made-for-television feel that is appropriate for this genre. You know they're on the right track when Fred Williamson--star of such blaxploitation masterpieces as Hammer (1972), Black Caesar (1973) and Mean Johnny Barrows (1976)--has a prominent supporting role. The 1970s spoof/homage aspect is far more understated and reverential than you'd normal expect from a Stiller film, but easy to like and understand.
Other outstanding supporting roles are played by Vince Vaughn, Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell and Juliette Lewis, all except Dogg slightly out of character, but just as enjoyable and funny as always, as they're all somewhat faithfully filling traditional 1970s roles. Dogg is the most in character, as he has long been deferential to that era, anyway.
The film hinges, of course, on Stiller and Wilson, and true to form, Stiller is still a somewhat oblivious buffoon with Wilson as a hipper, more streetwise buffoon. Grafting their comedy personae onto the Starsky and Hutch characters was more easily done and natural than anyone might have thought, and provides a highly amusing 100 minutes, even if it's a bit of an acquired taste and not likely to be understood quite as well by future generations.
A funny and thoroughly enjoyable spin on the overused cop-buddy
formula, "Starsky and Hutch" is one of the most entertaining films of
2004 -- even if it's nothing more than just that.
With a fair share of laugh-out-loud moments, and more than a handful of in-joke references to '70s pop culture (including the original source material: "Starsky and Hutch" the TV show), it also boasts a fine comedic cast with talented performers: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Snoop Dogg, Chris Penn, Amy Smart and some uncredited cameos by the likes of Will Ferrell -- and yes, even the original Starsky and Hutch. But their shared appearance is one best left open. ("I get a good vibe from these guys," the younger Hutch exclaims in one of the film's most savory self-referential moments.)
The film takes place in Bay City, "sometime during the '70s," when David Starsky (Stiller) -- a by-the-numbers police officer who spends his entire day chasing small-time crooks -- is paired up with a new partner, the reckless Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson (Wilson). Starsky and Hutch don't get along at first -- their mixed personalities collide, resulting in uncomfortable tension. Placed on an assignment involving an alleged drug lord (Vaughn), who has managed to create undetectable cocaine, Starsky and Hutch find themselves in a number of awkward situations: getting a statement by Big Earl (Ferrell), a dragon-obsessed inmate with some major issues; the usual tidbits of information from Huggy Bear (Dogg), a friend and informant of Hutch's; and of course the mandatory romantic subplot involving a pair of sexy cheerleaders.
The contrast of Starsky and Hutch is handled deliberately blunt: this comedy isn't as much a victim of the cop-buddy genre as it is a dead-on spoof. Hutch is a self-described "realist" -- during his introductory sequence he is shown fleeing the scene of a robbery with a stash of money. We assume he is undercover, and that's what he tells the cops when they try to arrest him. However, he's just using his badge as an excuse to commit crimes -- and get away with them.
I asked myself if it was as possible as the film implies, but then the Constantly Yelling and/or Upset Police Captain (another clichéd role that happens to show up in all these movies) tells Hutch that it's the seventh time he's been arrested for robbery, and Hutch tells him that he's undercover -- trying to work his way in through the criminal underground. The joke, of course, is that we find out the robberies are all totally unrelated and bear no significant to a criminal underground of any kind.
There are a few sequences in the movie that deserve a description of their own, such as when Starsky accidentally consumes a large amount of cocaine and works himself into an ultimate-high-frenzy, battling on the disco floor of a nightclub for short-lived glory. After his opponent is unjustly awarded the gold medal, Starsky pulls out his gun and from there on the entire situation escalates into one of those scenes that -- like parts of Stiller's "There's Something About Mary" -- last on in viewers' minds even after the film itself fades away. The sort of sequence you might chuckle about to yourself as you drive home and recall certain moments from the film.
Stiller and Wilson -- presently two of Hollywood's most famous odd couples who have united together for a number of projects over the years -- are always likable in their films and nothing changes here. Wilson uses his sarcastic quips to an advantage, coming across as the smoother of the two, whereas Starsky is the bumbling and self-conscious idiot who is both over-protective and over-zealous.
The movie is at its best when it is cleverly satirizing the genre. Most of these films always include a sequence where the police captain will suspend the movie's protagonist and frown on him, saying something cheesy like, "Your father, who spent years on the force and was one of the highest-decorated officers, would be ashamed of you!" Instead, the police captain tells Starsky that his mother would be ashamed of him. And then after being suspended, Starsky takes a visit to his mother's grave and places a glazed donut on the headstone (she was the highly decorated cop in the family, apparently).
The film was directed by Todd Phillips, whose resume includes such raunchy efforts at comedy as the crude-but-enjoyable "Road Trip" and surprising "Old School." The latter film starred Ferrell and Vaughn and contained a cameo appearance by Snoop Dogg (as himself), so obviously these guys enjoyed working with Phillips and, I'm sure, agreed to contribute to this movie just for the heck of it.
The result is a very goofy, entertaining summer flick that never tries too hard and invariably never falls too hard, either. It does fall sometimes, but even then it usually takes its screw-ups with a pinch of salt. This is the sort of movie worth the price of admission -- just to sit back, forget your worries, and watch a couple of clowns bumble their way through an enjoyable farce of the '70s. It's not the kind of movie you'll be talking about after you see it -- just a simple popcorn flick. If you're out and about and you happen to stumble into a theater showing this film, you'll find your money well spent. I won't praise "Starsky and Hutch" for being a brilliant tongue-in-cheek spoof of the cop-buddy films -- I'll merely say that, for what it is, "Starsky and Hutch" is well-made and funny -- a surprisingly simple movie that is everything it pretends to be. The majority of films that use this approach suffer because they fall victim to their targets, especially most released this year, but where the others have failed "Starsky and Hutch" succeeds.
Starsky and Hutch was a film I was really looking forward to. I think Owen
Wilson and Ben Stiller have great on screen chemistry and I really liked
last film they did together in 2001 entitled Zoolander. Ben Stiller & Owen
Wilson make a great comedic team so when I heard about Starsky and Hutch
starring both of them I was hooked immediately. The bad news for me
was the fact this film was being directed by the guy who made road trip &
old school, Todd Phillips. I didn't really care for neither one of them
say. But I was willing to give him a chance with this film. And as it
out, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of Starsky and
So tonight I caught the sneak preview of Starsky and Hutch at 7:30pm. The movie was packed to the gills. Yours truly had to sit in the front row, which I wasn't thrilled about. But there was nothing else at the theater to see so I figured what the hell I will make my neck suffer for the next two hours. Well the movie started about 5 minutes after I got in the theater.
Starsky and Hutch as I'm sure everyone knows is based on a buddy cop TV show from the 70s. The movie is pretty much the same thing. Starsky (Ben Stiller) & Hutch (Owen Wilson) are partners who are determined to bust their biggest case ever. Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) is a drug dealer who is planning one huge drug deal but soon Starsky and Hutch are right on his trail thanks to the help of their pal Huggy Bear (Snoop Dog). A lot of funny mishaps, spoofs of the original TV series, and overall a very enjoyable film ensue.
Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson like I mentioned above are a match made in heaven. They are both two funny guys who work great as a team. Vince Vaughn was very good here as the villain in the film. He had the whole rich playboy thing going, it was very entertaining. Snoop Dog was also very enjoyable as Huggy Bear. He delivered a nice sum of laughs and for once wasn't a completely pointless character. Amy Smart who played Holly in the film along with Carmen Electra who played Staci where both good as Starsky & Hutch's love interests. Even the original Starsky & Hutch, Paul Michael Glaser & David Soul make an amusing cameo appearance.
This film was written by three people and all of which I wouldn't think could create such a funny and interesting script like this. John O'Brien who wrote Cradle 2 the Grave with DMX & Jet Li, Todd Phillips who wrote road trip & old school, and Scot Armstrong who also wrote road trip & old school wrote the film as a team. As I said earlier I am quite surprised that the film turned out so well. I must actually applaud all of the three men who wrote this film. There were some really clever and classic moments in the film. The dialog was very good and the characters were very well formed. I enjoyed the script a lot.
Thank you Todd Phillips for proving me wrong. I was really scared at first that I wasn't going to like the film. I have to apologize to Mr. Phillips because I never thought I would see the day that I would come out of one of his movies and be very satisfied. The man wrote and directed a really good movie here. He delivered the laughs. The settings he chose for the movie were great. He filmed the whole thing in Bay City. I felt for the characters, I really liked the characters. I just overall really enjoyed what he did with the film and here's hoping for a part 2.
So I was very surprised with Starsky and Hutch. I had my doubts at first but they are now gone. I walked out of the film with a big smile on my face. There were lots of funny and classic scenes in the film. I really enjoyed how the film itself seemed to be a spoof of the original series. It was very clever by doing that. And I know I really liked this film to because when I sit in the front row to watch a movie, the movie better be good otherwise I will pan it even more for breaking my neck to watch it. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are the perfect comedy team in this funny and interesting buddy cop film. I highly recommend it to all. Just turn off your thinking cap and you will be set for a real fun ride. My final rating for Starsky and Hutch is an 8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Old School" director Todd Phillips lampoons every cop movie convention
and cliché in his new action comedy "Starsky & Hutch," an amusing but
anemic annihilation of the tough-minded, 1970s-era, buddy-themed, crime
busters television series that paved the way for shows like "Miami
Vice." Comedian Ben Stiller of "Meet the Parents" recreates the Paul
Michael Glaser role as Det. Dave Starsky, while Owen Wilson of "The Big
Bounce" updates the David Soul character Det. Ken Hutchinson. Mind you,
Stiller is usually a stellar comic, but his exaggerated, hyperactive
performance here is far too epileptic to be palatable. He resembles an
anorexic Lou Ferrigno, and he behaves as if he wandered in from another
movie. Meanwhile, Owen Wilson plays his usual laid-back slacker self.
Wilson goes for comparative subtlety. Sadly, "S & H" lacks any shred of
subtlety. What Phillips and co-scenarists John O'Brien of "Cradle 2 The
Grave" and Scot Armstrong, who co-scripted "Old School" and "Road Trip"
with Phillips, have done to TV's "Starsky and Hutch" is not nearly as
appalling as what director Barry Sonnenfeld did to TV's "The Wild Wild
West" with his "Wild Wild West." Sadly, this sacrilegious law & order
spoof is horrendous enough as it is.
"Starsky & Hutch" TV show fans will feel insulted and humiliated by this contemptible makeover of a venerable series. Phillips & company stand the action formula on its head, pull its pants down, and turn our heroes into moronic misfits. "S & H" shares more in common with the Village People than a straight-up and serious TV cops & robbers show. People who never saw TV's "Starsky and Hutch" may find it easier to laugh at our heroes' buffoonish behavior. Phillips scores points for his broad, imaginative comedy, but he devastates a popular show. Essentially, Phillips & company have ignored the basic rule of remakes: if it ain' t broke, don't fix it. Only Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear, Vince Vaughn as villainous Reese Feldman, and Fred Williamson's Captain Dobey emerge unscathed from this cretinous comedy.
"Starsky & Hutch" gets off on the right foot. Jewish businessman/cocaine dealer Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn of "Clay Pigeons" with a bandit mustache) has a falling out with one of his accomplices over the loss of a coke consignment and a plane. Out of the blue, Feldman palms a pistol and blows a hole through the argumentative thug, sending him involuntarily backwards over the railing of his yacht and into the ocean. As the wily villain, Feldman has altered the chemical formula of cocaine so drug-sniffing German Sheppard dogs cannot catch any incriminating whiffs from the narcotics. Further, this new cocaine is tasteless, which spins off a great gag with Starsky stirring it into his coffee as if it were sugar. The clever running joke during the expository scene about the drug is the comparison of 'new' coke with 'old' coke. Feldman plans to sell consignments of his wonder drug to a syndicate of drug dealers.
Meanwhile, Bay City Police Captain Dobey (Frank Williamson of "Hammer") makes partners out of polar opposites who have virtually no credibility in the department. Detective Dave Starsky has an anger management problem and is prone to firing his pistol in public at the wrong times. He drives like a maniac and he busts citizens for the least infraction of the law. On the other hand, Detective Ken Hutchinson drop kicked his ethics long ago and moonlights as a robber who hits bookies. Predictably, these dynamic dudes have problems adjusting to each other's idiosyncrasies. One thing Hutch likes about Starsky, however, is his souped-up, red Ford Grand Torino in which they careen recklessly around the streets of Bay City. Anyway, our heroes find a floater who turns out to be the same guy Feldman gunned down on his yacht. (Indeed, Vaughn makes a more believable bad guy than our protagonists make heroes.) In the by-the-numbers, police procedural screenplay, Starsky and Hutch trace the floater back to Feldman. Initially, they have no luck with Feldman and follow another lead: the dragon designs on the corpse's jacket. This takes them to prison where they encounter Big Earl (an unaccredited Will Ferrell of "Elf" with a hair net) who fashioned the designs. Starsky and Hutch ply Big Earl for information, but he proves more an obstacle than they expected. Where the original "S&H" duo would have shattered the glass between them in the prison interview room and beaten him to a pulp, the new "Starsky and Hutch" adopt a different approach. No concession they offer the convict appeals to him, until he asks to ogle Hutch's belly button. Before it's all over, Starsky and Hutch are caught on prison surveillance cams performing "Dumb and Dumber" routines for Big Earl. Like so much of the comedy in "S & H," this scene tickles your funny bone. Unfortunately, it's in the wrong movie. Starsky and Hutch check in occasionally with their number one snitch: Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg of "Baby Boy") and even persuade him to wear a wire and serve as Feldman's golf caddy in one scene. However, no matter what our heroes do to try and bust Feldman, they always wind up with egg on their face, to the point Capt. Dobey suspends them from the force.
Snoop Dog walks off with the show without breaking a sweat. The producers show greater reverence for his character than any other. The Ford Grand Torino gives a better performance than either lead. Another plus is the classic disco soundtrack with hits from the 70s such as "Afternoon Delight" and a send-up of David Soul's own "Don't Give Up On Us Baby." Altogether, while its boasts several funny scenes, this "Starsky & Hutch" remake doesn't amount to much.
Ben Stiller had four movies come out in six months and this one was the best. He teamed up with Owen Wilson and together they make a very funny team. Based on the popular 70's action show of the same name, Starsky and Hutch re teams Detectives David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson, this time played by long-time buddies Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. This "prequel" to the television show presents the origins of their long running partnership, as they are thrown together on a case involving a shady entrepreneur (Vince Vaughn). Stiller makes up for Envy and brings out the laughs with a great cast. I never saw the series but I am willing to bet that the movie is a lot better and this is more of a parody of the series. The story was funny sure it was nothing new but they still make it work. Stiller and Wilson have a great backup cast in this including Vince Vaughn, Amy Smart, Jason Bateman, Juliette Lewis and Carmen Electra. They all bring humor into the movie and they play their roles well. Snoop Dog played his role decently but they could have found someone else to play Huggy Bear. Todd Phillips directs and he has made some funny comedies in the past including Old School and Road Trip. Vince Vaughn has moved on from being a serious actor to being a comedian and the transition worked in Old School and it works in this movie. The film is 100 minutes long so its hard to put in enough jokes to sustain its running time but for the most part the film is pretty entertaining. Rating 7/10 I recommend you see this movie if your looking for a good comedy or if your a fan of any of the stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one time where the TV series was much more enjoyable then the movie. Ben Stiller is overacting in almost every scene, Owen Wilson is better but not by much. You'd think we were in church with all the references to Jesus. My intelligence was offended when 'Starsky' drives his car, like a maniac, out into the public street does a couple of 'donuts' in front of other police cars and then does a 180º to pick up his new, unwanted, partner. Williams takes his role out of so many other police dramas with a combative chief and a questionable officer, much like Josef Sommer's role in 'Dirty Harry'. The disco dance off was stupid, the biker bar episode was stupid, the scene in the prison trying to get answers from 'Big Earl' was stupid and insulting. I could go on and on. I wonder why I watched the whole thing? The originals, P.M. Glazer and David Soul, made a nice final scene appearance but nothing could help this pathetic drivel, (3; To talk stupidly or childishly). Pretty much anything that Ben Stiller does is of this caliber. But this is just my opinion.
Hand on heart I did not want to watch this film. Although I grew up
with the TV series and really enjoyed it, when the film was released I
have to say that I was not keen, I can not put my finger on why,
perhaps it was Stiller, who, Something About Mary apart, has never
really done it for me. But what ever the reason, it remained unveiwed.
That was 2004 - Xmas 2006 and I get DVD vouchers, so In the January sales off I go to see what I can get, I do quite well, but have £3 remaining, I have 2 or 3 to chose from 2 I have already seen, and Starsky & Hutch.....So I bought it.......yet still it was unwatched until yesterday.......hungover and feeling a little lazy I needed something to pass the time that was easy to watch, funny, and not too taxing.....so on it goes.
How surprised was I then when after only a few minutes I was giggling away. Stiller was actually entertaining and I was enjoying watching him, Mr Wilson was very good and I got the vibe that the characters gelled as the ones in the TV series did. Vaughan was a good baddie, and Snoop was hight entertaining if not as camp Huggy Bear! All in all this is a good solid comedy film, not brilliant don't get me wrong, but worth a watch.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
taking this legacy and making it into a movie was a horrible idea. usually the combo of Stiller and Wilson can pull any movie along. But this script was just to horrible. the only scene in the movie worthwhile was the one where the TV characters brought the new car to Stiller. Stiller plays a bunch of different type characters in his movies. This time he plays a hard edge cop that is scared. Wilson plays a con artist who holds a badge. It just doesn't work. These two men generally work well together, but not this time. Snoop plays a wonderful character though, he is the only one that works well in this. Vaughn plays a wonderful bad gay. Juliette Lewis adds some spice and edginess to it also. She generally plays either a crook or a crack whore, hence her roll in this movie. She has talent, would be nice to see her be able to use it once. Thank God this movie didn't do much so that a sequel will come around. The writers need to definitely try harder next time!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The original TV series, Starsky and Hutch, revolutionised - in fact,
probably invented the buddy-cop genre. It was as hugely popular, possibly
more-so than Charlie's Angels in its day, so it was inevitable that after
the success of Charlie's Angels, S+H would be next in line for the movie
But whereas Charlie's Angels was dynamic and plot-driven, with (a good many) knowing references to the original series and its disco-seventies setting it still retained a respect for the Angels. S+H has no respect for the original series... instead of action, it plays it purely for laughs, turning the original streetwise tough-guy cops in to fumbling buffoons.
While the film will undoubtedly be popular, its popularity is unlikely to be with fans of the original series - for two reasons, one is as they approach their forties they are hardly core cinema audience, but mainly because no-one with fond memories of the original series could warm to this irreverent crap.
Snoop Dogg is superb as Huggy Bear, and has the one stand out comedic line in the film. In reflection to our heroes being portrayed as idiots, the originally flaky Huggy is upgraded to a super-fly pimp daddy. [SPOILER ALERT] At the end of the day, it is Huggy who captures the bad guy, as Starsky and Hutch mess up disasterously, and not entirely amusingly.
The final scene, where Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, make a cameo to hand over the keys of the famous Gran Torino (the REAL star of the movie), merely serves to drive home the fact that S+H2004 is really Starsky and Hutch light. The original actors tower over their modern counterparts both literally, and in terms of screen presence.
Starsky and Hutch is not unwatchable, Stiller and Wilson are likable as ever, but on this occasion, the material lets them down. Without the value of the original series, Starsky and Hutch is about as good a movie as Hollywood Homicide was... and that's no recommendation.
The tale of two oddball police detectives who have a habit of getting stuck in awkward situations even with the best of intentions. Starsky (Ben Stiller) is very much by-the-book embarrassingly so whereas Hutch has a laid back rather hippy' approach to the rules. One of the films great strengths is that it plays on satire and keeps the action secondary. The two main characters are ably aided and abetted by Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg) and, although there is a big-drugs-bust plotline, the movie's main intention seems to be to make a homage to the style and clichés of certain 70s filmmaking (and the original TV show); car chases, for instance, focus on tongue-in-cheek action rather than adrenalin, and the cops' love of empty-headed curvaceous women combined with a homophobia towards each other and gay men is portrayed laughingly as an echo of the attitudes of the times rather than appealing to those sentiments. Not the sort of comedy I expected to enjoy so much personally, but I quickly warmed to this movie and found the feelgood factor continued unabated till the end.
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