Starsky & Hutch

The cops are tops: Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson play the 1970s police show for plentiful laughs

Director: Todd Phillips

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg

Website: http://starskyandhutchmovie.warnerbros.com

Plot Summary: Tightly-wound detective David Starsky (Stiller) is partnered with his laidback opposite, Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson (Wilson). With a little help from street-savvy informant Huggy Bear (Snoop), the mismatched cops must prevent Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn) from flooding the streets of Bay City, California with a new, undetectable form of cocaine.

Review: The current rash of movies based on old TV series continues with this retread of the 1970s cop show.

Remaking old TV shows as movies is Hollywood at its most cynical and unimaginative, of course, and Starsky & Hutch is undeniably a silly, insubstantial movie.

But it's also - and this is the only thing that really matters - a very funny film.

Reinventing the straight-laced police drama as a savvy, youth-oriented comedy is a smart move, and near-perfect casting goes a long, long way toward making it work so well.

With Stiller as Starsky, Wilson as Hutch and Snoop as Huggy Bear, director Todd Phillips doesn't have to do much more than set the cameras rolling, sit back and relax.

The easy chemistry between Stiller and Wilson, in particular, elevates a sharper-than-average script, loaded with sly sex and drugs references, to new heights.

The film also benefits from a lively supporting cast.

Of the bad guys, Vince Vaughn is wonderfully sleazy as coke baron Reese Feldman, Juliette Lewis makes the best of a small role as his mistress, former teen heartthrob Jason Bateman is almost unrecognizable as Feldman's lawyer and Will Ferrell makes a very funny uncredited appearance.

Among the goodies, action star Fred "The Hammer" Williamson makes an enjoyable Captain Dobey, Carmen Electra and Amy Smart provide maximum chick factor and the original Starsky & Hutch, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul, show up for slightly surreal cameos toward the end of the flick.

A well-judged soundtrack, partly curated by producer George Drakoulias, also helps keep things moving along, taking in a swathe of period pieces that ranges from cheese like Barry Manilow's Can't Smile Without You to earnest rockers like Eric Clapton's Cocaine.

Factor in the trademark red-and-white Ford Gran Torino - still looking sensational in the 21st century - and the marvelous original theme music and it becomes hard to dislike this slightly warped trip down memory lane.

PTV Rating: 4 out of 5

Czech Premiere: Thursday, May 20th, 2004
Czech Title: Starsky & Hutch
Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Video on YouTube

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