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3.8 out of 5 stars84
3.8 out of 5 stars
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"Starsky & Hutch" exceeds expectations, which you have to admit have been lowered considerably when it comes to all of the movies that have been made recycling old television shows. This is perhaps to be expected when you understand that the target audience for these films consists of people who have probably never seen an episode of "I Spy" or "The Mod Squad," and who are would be more familiar with the famous poster of Farrah Fawcett than any single episode of "Charlie's Angels." But this 2004 comedy has two advantages.
First, there is a rich tradition of buddy films where a "good" person and a "bad" person team up and overcome their differences to work together, extending back from Riggs & Murtaugh to Butch & Sundance, all the way back to Katie Scarlet & Miss Melly. "Starsky" and "Hutch" plays with this tried and true formula, mainly by tweaking it, but the key thing is that the film embraces the idea at the same time it is lampooning it. This is, all things considered, a gentle comedy telling the story of how Starksy and Hutch came to meet, even with Snoop Dogg bringing something of an edge to Huggy Bear.
Second, there is pretty good chemistry between Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as Starsky and Hutch; they should since this is their sixth film together. In fact, this is the most chemistry Stiller has shown with anybody in one of his films since he worked with DeNiro. Stiller is helped by the fact that his Starsky tends to go over the top but still manages to get the job done. You keep thinking he is about to make a fool of himself, and he certainly moves in that direction, but things never get so far out of hand that he becomes just a big joke.
The big joke in the film would be the plan of bad guy Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) who has invented a former of cocaine that has even German shepherds cannot detect. In other words, Feldman has invented (wait for it) "new Coke." But the plot is merely an excuse for Stiller and Wilson to do scenes together and it the spirit of true partnership each gets humiliated in turn, such as when a jailhouse snitch (Will Ferrell) makes Hutch show his belly button (then things get really weird), and then they get humiliated together. It is not like we do not know that in the end Feldman is going down, because he is going down hard, man, so the plot is not the point. Furthermore, the supporting case of Juliette Lewis, Amy Smart, Carmen Electra, and Fred Williamson as Captain Dobey is pretty good for this sort of film.
Plus, you have Starsky's beloved bright-red supercharged Ford Gran Torino, which he drives like a crazy person and then becomes incensed by the thought it might get scratched or dented. The homage to the original consists of the requisite appearance by Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, as well as Wilson warbling Soul's one hit, "Don't Give Up on Us Baby," a joke that is going to be lost on most of the viewers. Actually, throughout the film director Todd Phillips makes great use of the music of that period, such as "We've Only Just Begun" and "Afternoon Delight," to add a ironic counterpoint to the proceedings.
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on 8 August 2004
You remember Starsky and Hutch the series? Two tough, unconventional cops riding around in a red Torino with a white stripe that gave us decent (and sometimes gritty) stories laced with humour on a Saturday night? Well forget that, because this film is nothing like it.
The characters of Starsky and Hutch have been changed so much they are unrecognisable - even allowing for the fact that this film is set before the series. Starsky is changed from a laid back, funny, brash, junk food guzzler who never exercises and rarely phones his (very much alive) mum into a manic, by-the-book, jogging loner with a (dead ex-cop) mother complex. Hutch is changed from an educated, quite reserved (compared to Starsky, anyway) fitness fad devotee and dedicated cop who was prone to the odd moral rant, to a cocaine sniffing, law breaking, lazy, couldn't-care-less cop. And the whole point with Huggy Bear in the series was that he was only a small-time, some-time bender of the law and so Starsky and Hutch could consort with him with a clear conscience, but here he is some sort of crime boss. It's a shame because the original characters gave us plenty of quirks that could have been exploited for out and out humour. Instead what we are left with is a film bearing the name Starsky and Hutch but which bears no resemblance to its namesake in anything but look.
This doesn't mean it's a bad film, though. Stiller's Starsky really does look like the genuine article and his run (very important to some of us) is spot on. The clothing and bad disguises could have been lifted straight out of the TV series. The crime story (manufacturing a drug that is undetectable) is actually quite good and Vince Vaughn makes a good main villain. And most importantly for a comedy, it is funny. Really funny in places. Stiller and Wilson give us two funny characters - I just wish they hadn't chosen to call them Starsky and Hutch.
The DVD includes a director's commentary (quite dry, sadly), some fun featurettes, deleted scenes and amusing gag reel.
I imagine if you aren't obsessive about the original then you will think this deserves more stars than I've given it (see some of the other reviews here) but those who, like me, adored the TV version should approach the film with caution to avoid disappointment.
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on 19 March 2005
Not having watched the Starsky and Hutch tv programme in the 70's, i wasn't quite sure what too expect from the film. I was pleasantly suprised, but later found out that the tv programme was nothing like the film.
This film is very funny in many parts, but can be just a little too silly in others. The cast is great, especially Wilson, Stiller and Ferrell, who work so well together. Their scene in the jail is absolutely hilarious i must add. Also, Snoop Dogg was an inspired choice for Huggy Bear and he almost steals the show with his outragous outfits.
All in all, a pretty damn good film with plenty of laughs.
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on 23 February 2006
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are a rare comedy pairing. Starting out as a Spillar funnyman / fall guy to Owen's straight coolness in the superb Meet the Parents and Zoolander, in Starsky and Hutch they move up to a new level of comedic equality; with Owen playing preposterously on his good looks, and Stiller admirably wallowing in short-man syndrome. The film's plot ambles along in a turgid and graceless manner, but god it is funny. It's all down to Stiller and Owen's chemistry; and a hilarious cameo from the charismatic (and shockingly thin) Snoop Dogg, who's terrible acting just makes him all the cooler. Like all the best comedy films, repeat viewings reveal subtle jokes missed before, and others have timing and flare that make them funnier second, third and fourth time around. It doesn't pull any punches either - Owen has a threesome with Stiller's girl, a pony gets machine-gunned, there's cocaine in-jokes, and Snoop handles his weapons with a confidence that belies his real-life suspected murderer status. Whilst in a way the film itself is poor, this is all about the three leads, and is very, very funny - which is what counts.
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on 8 August 2005
Fun for adults and children, this is much better than I expected. The main characters are there, including the car, and they don't take themselves too seriously. There are good (in fact hilarious) jokes for the adults to enjoy. It moves at a decent pace, and there is a plot. Frequent references to drugs (cocaine) so watch out for kids. Bears repeated watchings. It's a bit like the Charlies Angels films (flash, easy on the eye) but with more adult material.
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on 25 June 2007
The big-screen adaptation with Ben Stiller (as Starsky) and Owen Wilson as (Hutch) spoofs everything the TV show took so seriously, and to good effect. In this outing, we find out how the duo became partners, and why. It seems both are misfits, with the opposing personality traits of the originals exaggerated to an almost-impossible level, giving them a very high-energy odd-couple buddy vibe as they chase aspiring drug kingpin Reese Feldman (Vaughn). Of course, Huggy Bear is there to assist (in the person of Snoop Dogg, who is spot-on). Stiller and Wilson have this act down, and they never linger on a gag too long. One of the better 70s spoofs is Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul have a quick cameo at the end.
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Starsky and Hutch is more fun than it has any right to be, even if it does depart from the series in many ways. Stiller has Paul Michael Glaser's mannerisms down to a tee (he even has Glaser's bizarre run, like a hyperactive duck doing a windmill impersonation, down to perfection) but otherwise is another of his trademark anal neurotics while Owen Wilson takes Hutch even further away as a laid back dude not above a spot of robbery to supplement his salary. But it is funny, good natured and doesn't outstay its welcome too much. The only real bum note is giving the final glory to Snoop's terrible Huggy Bear, a charmless, boring and lazy performance constantly outshone by his own bodyguards.
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on 21 July 2004
I went to watch this movie with my mates, and i can honestly say it was very very funny, and some scenes were incredibly funny. i thought i had to get the DVD and am pleased to say its just as funny the first time i saw it. The DVD comes with loads of extra features including interviews, out takes, deleted scenes and a lot more. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson work great together in their all movies, and it would be great to see these two in another movie, becuase i dont think they could have picked a better partnership. this is an excellent movie of 2004 and at a great price here at amazon.
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on 26 August 2004
In this remake of the classic '70s hit, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson team up again-this time as David Starsky (Stiller) and Ken Hutchinson (Wilson). Although a modern film, 'Starsky and Hutch' has a distinct 70s feel to it, from the camera work to the plot line. However, I do not feel that avid fans of the series will warm to this adaptation, which almost parodies the original.
If this film is viewed without any prejudices or the need for a serious story, 'Starsky and Hutch' is a very enjoyable experience. The jokes- both subtle and blatant-are very funny, with Stiller and Wilson adding their own style to the crime-fighting duo, and there are many great performances from Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrel, Vince Vaughn and Juliette Lewis.
The film keeps the humour constant throughout, although some of the jokes don't quite hit the mark. Hilarious scenes such as Starsky's dance-off with Rick (Har Mar Superstar) are interwoven with some more emotional moments between the pair, which can bring up the question of how far their relationship goes...but, as director Todd Phillips explains, the slight homoerotic subtext is "played just for laughs".
As a DVD, it leaves much to be desired. There's the usual gag reel, director's commentary and theatrical trailers, yet no real insight into the making of the film. Yet overall, I found 'Starsky and Hutch' hilarious, and would highly recommend it. Just don't take it too seriously.
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on 25 August 2011
I was fascinated when this movie with Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller based on the iconic 70s tv series was first released, and as a big fan of the original I couldn't wait to see it.

This movie was clearly made deliberately as a comedy film, and as such it certainly works. It had me chuckling all the way through, although half the time I was laughing at the stupidity of the main characters rather than anything else. This film is worth seeing and even worth owning provided you are not expecting it to become a revival of the classic series. As a standalone film on its own merits, it rates a four and a half stars, because Stiller and Wilson are very funny. Stiller is frighteningly Starsky-like in many scenes. Wilson's version of Hutch was very funny and creative, but nothing like David Soul, so if that is what you are looking for here....forget it.

In my opinion, if this film had been made as a serious drama with comedy, it would work a lot better, because I would be able to take the two lead characters seriously, whereas as they stand I wouldn't trust them even to escort my granny across the road! That being said this film is hugely entertaining, and the new Huggy Bear character is brilliant.

I have given this film three stars rather than four simply because I felt that characters themselves have lost a lot of the original appeal through being turned into full-blown comedy characters, but all the same buy this film and laugh out loud!
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