A/V Room









Starsky & Hutch (15)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with Tood Phillips, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson; Driving School with Starsky and Hutch; Fashion Insights with Huggy Bear; Last Look Special (documentary spoof); Deleted scenes; Gag reel; Theatrical trailer.

STARSKY and Hutch fans rejoice! Over-sized cardigans, spectacular perms, screeching red and white-striped Ford Gran Torinos and, of course, Huggy Bear, are back, and they’re just as hip and stylish as ever.

Fans of the popular television series, which ran from September 1975 to August 1979, should not be disappointed in this big screen makeover, from the team behind such comic hits as Road Trip and Old School, as this emerges as a keenly observed, brilliantly fun homage to LA's original partners in crime.

And while die-hard S&H fans may lament the toning down of the original series’ toughness, even the most hardened cynic will struggle to keep a straight-face during some of the better realised nods, such is the film’s ability to hit almost every target it aims for.

Some of my earliest, and fondest, TV memories span from watching Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul dishing out justice to LA’s criminals, while the car represented the vehicle that every boy craved. Heck, I even had a copy of some of David Soul’s singles (although refrained from the desire to wear a cardigan on social occasions!).

It is with some authority, therefore, that I can say this works, coming across as a sheer, unadulterated joy, from start to finish, and one which I cannot wait to see again.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson portray the eponymous heroes and, visually, do a pretty good job of recapturing the look and style of the cultural icons. Stiller, especially, revels as Starsky, effortlessly pinning down the character’s mannerisms, as well as some of his more infamous screen moments, while Wilson has his moments, even if he lacks the necessary toughness to fully do justice to the Hutch persona.

Yet Snoop Dogg, as Huggy Bear, and Vince Vaughn, as bad guy, Reese Feldman, revel in their roles, nailing the requirements of the genre, as well as their lines, with obvious abandon.

Stiller is quoted as saying that he used to play Starsky and Hutch as a kid, and made it known that he would be interested in playing the character on-screen when the rights first became available, and this affection is obvious, for the performance is pitched perfectly - much like the movie.

Anyone who has ever witnessed the opening titles of a classic television episode can virtually tick off the visual references, with everything from Starsky’s descent down an outside stairwell, before leaping onto a roof, the car being chased through an alleyway, and the duo’s strut through a sauna in skimpy towels, being catered for in some way.

Director, Todd Phillips, avoids the temptation to parody or spoof things in an insulting way, and, by opting to treat it as ‘the failed pilot for Starsky and Hutch’, actually brings his own slant on the subject, by choosing to show how the partners first met and forged their friendship.

The ensuing relationship (which he describes as ‘a romantic comedy between two straight men’) unfolds during an investigation into Vaughn’s wealthy businessman, who is planning the biggest drug deal of his lucrative career.

Yet the plot is largely secondary to the fun on show, with scene after scene evoking memories of the series in some way, even if the decision to play up the ‘homosexuality’ element becomes a little over-stretched.

Highlights, needless to say, include a cameo appearance by the original actors, as well as the pair’s attempts to seduce two cheerleaders (Carmen Electra and Amy Smart), and their questioning of another barely clad suspect.

But any scene involving Dogg’s streetwise Huggy Bear, or Vaughn’s charismatic villain, also score highly.

This is, without doubt, a glorious nostalgia trip through one of the Seventies greatest partnerships, that really ought to warrant a sequel. You won’t want it to end.

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