Starsky and Hutch

Turing a classic TV show into a movie is often a hit or miss proposition. For every “Brady Bunch” there is an “I Spy” “Car 54 Where are you?” and “Wild Wild West” Thankfully “Starsky and Hutch” avoids the pitfalls and gives viewers a funny look at a classic 70’s series.

Based on the series made famous by David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, the film centers on the forced pairing of two Bay City cops in the 70’s. David Starsky (Ben Stiller), is a by the book cop who loves his job and all it stands for while Ken Hutchinson (Owen Wilson), is a opportunist who is not above shaking down a suspect or a victim for a little extra spending money and has a casual and easygoing outlook on life.

Starsky has been a lone wolf for a while and is less than thrilled to have been assigned a new partner especially one as casual with the rules as Hutch. Before long the due are investigating a homicide that leads them to an affluent businessman named Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn), who is secretly plotting to release a new designer form of cocaine on the world.

During the investigation, Starsky and Hutch rely heavily upon local club owner Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg), who is the ultimate source of information for all things happening both legal and illegal.

Before long, the two reluctant partners start to bond and gain a new respect for one another as Hutch tells Starsky that his souped up Ford Torino helped raise his status with him. Along the way, the duo encounters some odd characters such as a very open cheerleader, a knife tossing suspect and a freaky prisoner (Will Farrell), who has a fetish for clothing and dragons.

What it all adds up to is one very funny movie as once the films gets up to speed the laughs come fast and furious. There is a Disco scene and an interrogation scene that have to be seen to be believed as they are so outrageous that you will be hard pressed not to laugh. Director Todd Phillips knows that Stiller and Wilson have a very easy and natural chemistry with one another and allows them to be free with their characters without letting them get to outrageous. There were some great homage’s to the 70’s and the original show that underline the fact that the creative teams behind the film were not only fans but also paid attention to detail. The costumes were hysterical but very appropriate for the era as were the hairstyles such as the scary perms.

The film does take a little bit to get started but once it does, the laughs fly at a relentless pace. It was nice to see Stiller step outside of his lovable loser persona and infuse Starsky with a short fuse and tendency for tantrums. Wilson has a great take on his character as he upholds the law but is not above bending the rules for his own personal gain and enjoyment.

While I was a moderate fan of the original series, I really enjoyed this film as it works as a comedic parody of the original without being disrespectful to the show that inspired it. Stiller and Wilson are dead on in their takes on the characters down to the knee slides, rooftop leaps and tantrums before the captain. Vaughn does a nice job as the villain as while it is a stock character, his look, mannerisms and approach are dead on to the villains that populated the show.

I for one would not mind seeing another outing of the duo and if you are in the mood for some good laughs, then get on the case, and check out “Starsky and Hutch”

3.5 stars out of 5