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Starsky and Hutch

Starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson; Snoop Dogg, Vince Vaughn, Fred Williamson
Screenplay by Steve Long, John O’Brien, Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong
Based on characters created by William Blinn
Directed by Todd Phillips

IN SHORT: A laugh riot. Seriously, as in seriously funny. [PG-13 for drug content, sexual situations, partial nudity, language and some violence. 97 minutes]

Return with us now to those serendipitous days of the Seventies, when polyester leisure suits and Quiana Rayon shirts were the dress of the day; the two most important lines to us young folk were to get gas and to do coke; and songs by the Captain and Tennille and Chicago battled it out for dominance of the rock 'n' roll radio air waves...

No, seriously, it's OK to laugh. Going the comedy route is about the only way a big screen remake of the car chase and choreographed fight heavy teevee series could make it to the big screen, and it does so with both barrels blasting. Teaming Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as undercover detectives Dave Starsky and Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson turns out to be such a brilliant idea we wonder why it's taken so long for someone to figure out that it's a brilliant idea to team the guys up. Uh, waitasec...

This is the sixth time they've teamed. Kids, that last paragraph is a demonstration of why you shouldn't do drugs. They mess up your brain cells something awful . . . Not that we'd know anything about that since we were nose deep in, uh, college textbooks during the teevee show's original run in the late 70s.

All right, enough silliness. We've always written that the primary rule of this site is that you shouldn't have to know the source material to understand the film. Starsky & Hutch takes care of that concern from the get go as we are introduced to an "overenthusiastic," we're being kind, undercover detective Starsky (Stiller), who is continually trying to get out from the shadow of his mother, a legendary and quite deceased detective. On the other side of town is Hutch (Wilson), who isn't above hanging out with disreputable sorts like bar owner and "godfather" of the street, Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg) or dipping his hand into the cookie jar, so to speak, and stealing from the criminals he busts. When they first meet, in the office Capt. Fred Dobey (Fred Williamson), it isn't a hearts and flowers moment. That, of course, is why Dobey teams 'em up and the resulting back and forth is as funny as in any other similar situation found in any of the comic films Stiller and/or Wilson have been in.

Bay City California is our location. A body has washed up on the California shore and a long and winding detective road will bring our heroes to the doorstep of wealthy businessman Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) who is busily planning the bat mitzvah blowout for his daughter's thirteenth birthday. Connecting the murder and the major player is tough work, made easier by info supplied by prison stoolie Big Earl (Will Ferrell) and Hutch's cheerleader gal pals Staci (Carmen Elektra) and Holly (Amy Smart). Chris Penn play cop rival Manetti. He plays no part in the story but shows up enough that the character must have been a player on the small screen. We're just giving props. Them's the basics. We can't honestly say that there's much more than that, except for the fact that we were laughing so much we didn't mind at all.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Starsky and Hutch, he would have paid . . .


We enjoyed Starsky and Hutch much more than we expected to but not so much that we'd want to drop another ten spot to see if we missed anything important, story-wise. That'll wait for the DVD. Those looking for a good time in the dark during the film's roll out will find it here.

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