Thursday, August 5, 2004

Wow, hits plummet when I don't post for a few days, who'da thought? Here's a speedy video review, more posting later today hopefully....

‘Starsky and Hutch’
Hey, groovy! Those way-out cops from the ’70s, Starsky and Hutch, are back on the scene, man!
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson dig up a moldy TV show for a satirical spin in last spring’s modest box-office success. Unfortunately, the big-screen “Starsky & Hutch” is equal parts hit and miss, with appealing performances but some clumsy plotting and far too many lame jokes.
You know the drill — Starsky (Stiller) is the uptight cop, Hutch (Wilson) is the loose and fun hip cop. The two are forced to team up by their grumpy superior and dig up the truth on a drug ring run by a sleazy crime lord (Vince Vaughn).
There are some funny moments, including Will Ferrell as a perverted inmate who nearly steals the movie, but “Starsky & Hutch” coasts too much on the lazy notion that anything to do with the 1970s is intrinsically hilarious. Bell-bottoms and disco alone do not a sharp comedy make.
And can we please put a moratorium in scenes of Ben Stiller doing goofy dancing? He’s done it in this year’s “Along came Polly,” and in “Zoolander,” and it ain’t that funny to watch a white man dance badly.
But still, I like Stiller and Wilson, and they bring a grinning amiability to this project it probably doesn’t deserve. Rapper Snoop Dogg is also funny as the laconic pimp informant Huggy Bear.
The routine cops-versus-drug dealers plot is so forgettable it evaporates as you’re watching the flick, while Stiller and Wilson riff off their familiar stereotypes and those oh-so-original gay jokes.
Director Todd Phillips was surprisingly witty with last year’s “Old School,” but this unimaginative retread feels like a movie done for the paycheck, cooked up at a boardroom table and done with little flair. It never really cuts loose.
If it weren’t for Stiller and Wilson, “Starsky & Hutch” would easily be another forgettable TV adaptation like “The Beverly Hillbillies” movie. As it is, it’s diverting fun, but about as essential as a pet rock or a new pair of bell-bottoms.
**1/2 of four

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