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Starsky & Hutch (2004)

Theyre the man.

Directed by:

Todd Phillips

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 101 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States

The seventies! Big hair, chopper bikes, corduroy, Noddy Holder, Spangles – and, of course, the mighty ‘Starsky & Hutch’. At long last, having seen practically every other classic US TV show under the sun given the big screen treatment (even ‘I-Spy’ got a flick of its own, and hardly anyone can remember it!), it’s time for quipping crime-busters David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson to take centre stage.

Where on the goggle-box we had David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser as the Bay City buddy-cops, here the reigns are passed over to Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson (though fans of the series will no doubt be delighted to hear the original stars both pop up in cameo mode to take part in the film’s cheese-tastic ending).

It’s an inspired piece of casting – Stiller and Wilson arrive in their roles as an already-established double-act, and the bubbling chemistry between the pair of them has a big part to play in making this project infinitely more enjoyable than so many previous attempts at revamping popular old telly progs (Lost In Space, Charlie’s Angels, ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Wild Wild West’ and ‘The Brady Bunch Movie’ to name but a smattering).

The whole thing’s played out with tongue firmly in cheek – at one point Wilson bursts into a rendition of ‘Don’t Give Up On Us Baby’ (originally a 1977 chart hit for his Hutch predecessor Soul), and the number of nudge-nudge hints at the pair’s sexual preferences are too numerous to keep track of. But, fittingly, the lampooning is affectionate – the laughing is all done with the old show rather than at it, turning this into more a tribute to the series than an out-and-out adaptation or remake.

Another nice touch on the part of writer/director/producer Todd Phillips (who’s soon to turn his hand to ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ with Jim Carrey) is the decision to avoid the usual attempt at bringing old material into new surroundings, instead recreating the original 70s setting. It takes the film down a kitsch, nostalgic avenue that proves a mine of comic possibilities, and also provides the key gimmick that prevents this from turning into yet another run-of-the-mill buddy cop movie.

It's Got: Snoop Dogg proving he’s the only man who can fill Antonio Fargas’ shoes as blinged-up police snitch Huggy Bear, and Vince Vaughn as a moustachioed coke-hiding crimelord.

It Needs: To have invited Fargas to join in the cameo fun.

Alternatives:

I-Spy, Old School, Zoolander

Summary

A worthy homage to the TV series, this is easily the most fun movie of 2004 so far.

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