Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
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.