Starsky & Hutch

Review Date:
Director: Todd Phillips
Writer: Todd Phillips, John O’Brien, Scot Armstrong
Producers: Stuart Cornfeld, Akiva Goldsman, Tony Ludwig, Alan Riche
Ben Stiller as Starsky
Owen Wilson as Hutch
Vince Vaughn as Reese
A cop with a bad attitude, a cool car and a genuine dedication to his job gets partenered with a cop who doesn’t seem to take his job too seriously, loves the ladies and works closely with the bad elements from the street. We’ve seen the “odd couple” police story before, but this one is a theatrical adaptation of the cheesy 70s TV show. Slap a bad guy into the movie, played by Vinnie Vaughn and sit back and enjoy the laughs? Sure…only I thought there would be more laughs.
Underwhelming. With so many cool peeps attached to this project, I was expecting to be bowled over in laughs, style, fun and overall entertainment value, but what I got instead was an amusing film that utilized most of its characters enough to generate a number of laughs, but not develop any memorable sequences, original plot turns or creative touches. In fact…if it wasn’t for the film being jammed with actors whom I liked so much, I don’t even think much of it would have amused me at all. There’s a palpable sense of missing energy throughout this film and despite a few songs here and there, not enough drive to keep things moving at a brisk pace. Its first 10-15 minutes were particularly surprising in tone, with too much seriousness overlapping the few laughs, delivered mostly by the always-awesome Vince Vaughn. In fact, I think Vaughn steals the show in this movie and should definitely have been given a greater part. Will Ferrell’s cameo is also hilarious and Snoop Dogg is a great touch, but the two leads were simply decent, not much more. Stiller, in particular, seems to be running out of gags with his “disco showdown” in this pic being a little too reminiscent of the similar showdown in ZOOLANDER and another goofy dance sequence he had in ALONG CAME POLLY, only a month ago. But the film lacked humor overall as well, with small jokes hitting the marks here and there, the mood feeling cool there and here, but nothing really giving it that AUSTIN POWERS, CHARLIE’S ANGELS or SHAFT sense of frivolous, yet believable, identity.

More 70s references and decors would have helped this cause, as well as a more creative director who took more stylistic chances a la McG. I mean, let’s face it…this is a parody movie…have fun with it…what’s with all the basic shots and angles? Anyone remember the “Sabotage” video by The Beastie Boys? (directed by Spike Jonze) Have fun with it, man! A couple of sequences were fun in this film, specifically one featuring a kid with knives and the other with the infamous car preparing to fly through the air, but not enough of that was included here. This is a cop movie. Where was the gunplay, the chases, the action? We get a bit of that here, but again…not enough to satisfy completely. The film feels like it was served up before it was fully cooked. The screenplay could have used at least a couple of more rewrites to be truly funny and is it me, or did it try too hard to play things safe? Were they going for a G-rating here or something? C’mon guys…spice it up!! Even the ending felt a little tacked on and uninspired. I don’t know…maybe I was expecting too much from this movie. Maybe if you go in with low expectations, you’ll enjoy it more than I did, but as it stands now, I would definitely recommend that you catch this movie on video one night, if only to check out some of its fun actors and Vaughn’s hilarious turn as the “bad guy”, but otherwise, I don’t think it’s worth investing your hard-earned dollars to see in theaters. Undercooked.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

Starsky & Hutch