We are sticking with Ben Stiller as we head over to Starsky and Hutch, the 2004 spoof of the ultra cool cop show from the ’70’s. by way of confession, I do not believe I have seen n episode of the show in over twenty years. I vaguely remember an plot with Starsky being kidnapped by a Satanic cult, but that only because a Bob Jones rubberstamped teacher of mine back in elementary school once used it as an example of how popular culture glorified Satan. As if we were rooting for Satan over Starsky. As a direct spoof, much of the movie is lost on me. I am not familiar with the show and have to appreciate the movie on its own merits.
Fortunately, I do. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, Starsky and Hutch, respectively, play off each other well.
I do know enough to realize their character personalities have been juxtaposed. Starsky isa tough, by the book cop while Hutch is a laid back, never grown up Frat boy. On the series, it was the exact opposite. Is that supposed to be part of the joke? Huggy Bear, played like a cay street philosopher by rapper Snoop Dogg, acts more like the glue that holds the cops friction filled partnership together through this, their first assignment.
The two begin investigating a drug ring run by Reese Feldman. (Vince Vaughn) Feldman has developed astrain of cocaine that is undetectable by smell or taste and plans to ship millions of dollars worth into Bay City. Our heroes ru the investigation from when a Feldman associate’s corpse washes ashore until the point the drugs are to be delivered hidden in the grad prize at a charity ball.
I assume many of the twists are homage to elements of the original series. The only one I readily recognized was Hutch’s guitar plying on a song that actually was released by David Soul in a brief foray into music. I hear he was big in Germany. Since I laughed at the sequence knowing what it was tweaking , I have probably missed a few layers of other jokes. Whether that is true, I did laugh often and appreciated the ’70’s kitsch.
Starsky and Hutch is not great by any means, especially if--beat that dead horse--the show does not mean anything to you. But it is light, funny entertainment with a real chemistry between the stars. Everyone acts like they are having a good time. Even the originals, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, show up to cap it all off on a happy. Happy except for the thought I had that Soul had died years ago. Where did I get that idea from?
Rating: *** (out of 5)