Grade : C
Hot on the tail of the retro revival trend, proved viable by McG’s jiggly rendition of Charlie’s Angels, comes Starsky and Hutch, the latest from director Todd Philips, of Road Trip and Old School fame.
The film opens with the lengthy, yet necessary, background information on the pairing of the unlikely crime-fighting duo.
Functioning as a “prequel” to the television series, Starsky and Hutch follows the first big case of bumbling do-gooder, David Starsky (Ben Stiller), and streetwise Ken Hutchinson (Owen Wilson).
After discovering a “floater,” a.k.a dead body, washed up in the Bay City Marina, the duo find themselves investigating a white-collar drug ring headed by Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn).
While the loosely woven story is driven to delight hard-core fans of the 1970’s buddy cop show, those who may have missed out on the era won’t be lost, but most likely will be bored.
The film is so jam packed with cameos and allusions to the original television series, at times the plot is simply, and intentionally, placed on the back burner to make way for the homage to the decade.
Stiller and Wilson’s comical prowess is the only saving grace of this film. Their performances lack the same subversive comedy you may remember from Zoolander and Meet the Parents; yet, the hilarious costumes, wigs and mannerisms the two actors acquired for the roles draws focus away from the fairly flimsy plot.
However, if their recent sketch comedy attempt during their role as Oscar presenters didn’t prove that this movie is functioning solely on nostalgia and media hype, I don’t know what will.
Snoop Dog, who gives an eerily accurate portrayal of the series’ infamous street informant, Huggy Bear, is really beginning to flex his acting muscle. This is definitely an improvement from the dismal portrayal of himself in Todd Philip’s last project, Old School.
However, one is left to wonder how difficult it really could have been for Snoop to get into character as the “bling” sporting, caddy driving Huggy. Perhaps the only real stretch between Huggy Bear and Snoop himself is the fact that in the world of Starsky and Hutch, Huggy actually helps the “fuzz.”
Will Farrell appears in an awkward, and unnecessary, cameo as Big Earl, the biker bar owning con with a disturbing dragon fetish. His scene, along with a bizarre lesbian kiss between Staci (Carmen Electra) and Holly (Amy Smart) seem to be Phillips’ attempt at appealing to those Old School fans who may not understand the throw backs to the television series.
However, the brand of comedy which plastered Old School seems to be out of place in this film and essentially succeeds in alienating fans of the original Starsky and Hutch and Philips’ fans alike.
While Starsky and Hutch does have its comical high points, the film ultimately solidifies the fact there was valid reasoning behind limiting such television shows to a thirty-minute time slot.
Hopefully, the film industry will soon realize the novelty of the retro revival has worn off and we won’t be forced to suffer though a feature-length rendition of Three’s Company.