Although some former viewers of the original TV series that the movie is based on may wonder why it’s being revived in the first place, everybody can get a laugh or few from the adventurous retro romp that is "Starsky & Hutch." The original "Starsky and Hutch" even have a cameo to give their blessings to their talented progenies.
Stiller and Wilson are officially the next Affleck and Damon. They’ve worked together many times in the past, and they will hopefully continue to do so. Wilson’s amicable ‘country boy’ traits contrast beautifully with Stiller’s generally over-the-top characters, making this a partnership to be reckoned with. The two actors are comfortable with each other, and it’s so very easy to relax in their story and accept even some of the most ludicrous twists.
The movie begins with an adrenaline-packed chase scene, complete with ‘action camera’ constant movement, startling extreme tracking-in and out, and way too many freeze frames. It is in this humorously over-serious scene of destruction and mayhem that we meet the most stubborn Detective David Starsky, an uptight street cop played to irritable perfection by Ben Stiller ("Zoolander," "There’s Something About Mary").
Soon enough we are introduced to Starsky’s future partner, Owen Wilson ("Shanghai Noon," "Zoolander") as silky smooth Detective Ken ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson–a laidback playboy who takes the ‘know your adversary’ school of thought far enough for even the most unbiased viewer to doubt his complete commitment to law enforcement. In fact, when we first meet Hutch, we also meet underworld prince and club owner Huggy Bear, an outrageously droll ‘urban informer’ brought to life in bling-blinging glory by legendary platinum rapper Snoop Dogg.
Yes, there IS a plot other than seeing exactly how authentic the retro-continuity department can fix everything. There’s an evil, ruthless drug lord/squeaky-clean family man (Vince Vaughn) who has developed genetically modified cocaine undetectable to drug-sniffing police dogs and other conventional non-laboratory tests, and is planning to start distributing to various big drug lords in the very near future.
Of course, the ill-fitting detectives are partnered together to investigate a dead body, which turns out to be linked to the drug network that is producing the modified coke, and the rest is…well, the rest is what the movie is about.
Between information gathering in locker rooms with cheerleaders and visiting ‘eccentric’ gay dragonphile Big Earl in prison, none of the detective work is meant to be at all serious, but our heroes gain tips and develop a touching friendship all the same, commendably without laughing in the face of their absurd situation even once.
The entire movie reeks of cheese even considering its ‘obvious comedy’ nature, but that’s practically expected from Todd Phillips, who has directed such self-parodying films as ‘Old School’ and ‘Road Trip.’ Jokes range from subtle to raunchy teen-movie fare that leans the movie towards a sort of adolescent guilty pleasure, and sexual situations just this side of R-rated and frequent drug jokes make ‘Starsky & Hutch’ more appropriate for older middle-schoolers and up.
Make no mistake, while entertaining for a variety of audiences, this movie is unashamedly aimed at adolescent boys craving big noises, cool cars, explosions and busty half-naked cheerleaders.
Potential viewers are strongly suggested not to invite grandma, but the hilarious acting and excellent chemistry surely makes up for many shortcomings in a less-than-politically-correct film that will leave you smiling against your will. If you can dig two hipsters in a cherry-red Ford Torino…"Do it. Do it!"