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STARSKY AND HUTCH, 2004
Movie Reviews!

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STARSKY AND HUTCH MOVIE POSTER
STARSKY AND HUTCH, 2004
Movie Reviews

Directed by Todd Phillips
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell, Juliette Lewis, Amy Smart, Carmen Electra
Review by Trish Koutrodimos



SYNOPSIS:

Two 70s cops, a straight-laced law-enforcer and a shifty ladies man, must put aside their differences and work together to catch a coke-dealing murderer.

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REVIEW:

Detective David Starsky (Stiller) lives for the job – his badge is squeaky clean and he wakes up to the sweet smell of catching scumbags – oh, and he has one hell of a perm too! On the flip side, brushing shoulders with shifty characters and wooing the ladies, Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson lives for one man – himself. One day, after Starsky destroys a chunk of the city to retrieve $7 and Hutch is caught robbing a store, their Captain sentences these pests to being partners.

Both men despise the match-up but Starsky accrues a little redemption in Hutch’s eyes when he pulls up in a hot Ford Gran Torino to take them to their first crime scene (he drives like a maniac). At the Bay City Marina, Hutch is ready to push the washed up dead body back into the sea – floaters are hard to identify – when straight-A Starsky stops him and meticulously documents the scene. His back turned, Hutch quickly robs the body and proclaims he’s located an empty wallet. Inside, Starsky pulls out Reese Feldman’s card.

Starsky and Hutch arrive at Reese’s mansion and question him about the murdered body of Terrence Myers. Reese (Vaughn) explains that Terrence had been in his Nearly There Program which helps ex-cons secure jobs. Though Starsky’s textbook cop routine grates Reese, he becomes chummy with the laid back Hutch and offers him two tickets to the Nearly There Annual Fund Raiser. Reese’s young girlfriend, overhearing Terrence’s name, recalls that he dated a Bay City Kitty cheerleader. The men leave and head to the stadium where the voluptuous cheerleaders are practicing. Starsky, totally unexpectedly, turns on the charm with Stacey and Holly – two very hot cheerleaders – and not only identifies Terrence’s girlfriend, Heather, but secures Hutch and himself dates. Interviewing Heather, she has no information about Terrence’s illegal activities but gives them his jacket. Needing information, Hutch takes Starsky to see the soft-spoken and pimped-out Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg) – a Godfather-like figure. Examining the jacket’s dragon print, he identifies it as Big Earl’s stitch-work.

Starsky and Hutch arrive at Bay City Correctional to visit Big Earl (Ferrell). Big Earl, a tough thug with a soft spot for dragons and pretty men like Hutch, demands that for each piece of information given he receive a glimpse of Hutch’s skin. After Hutch exposes his belly button, sexily struts back and forth, growls over his shoulder like a dragon, and finally, poses nude with Starsky as a dragon-double team, Big Earl gives up a sample of the cocaine which he and Terrence were paid for working muscle for an anonymous drug dealer. The shamed men leave and vow never to speak of this again. However, when they return to the precinct, thanks to the jail’s security camera, all cops have seen the embarrassing escapade. Even worse, the Captain, after running tests on the cocaine and revealing it as artificial sweetener, becomes furious and throws the men of the case. However, Starsky and Hutch, having come too far (and done too much) decide to follow up their next leads – Stacey and Holly. Back at the jail, Big Earl swears to Reese on the phone that he didn’t give Starsky and Hutch his name and that his new genetically altered brand of unidentifiable cocaine passed the test – the cops cleared it!

On a date with Stacey and Holly at Starsky’s place, Starsky fixes himself some coffee while Hutch entertains the girls. Out of sugar, Starsky pours some of the ‘artificial sweetener’ into his cup. Rejoining the others, Starsky is clearly high. So high that he whisks them all to a nightclub where he out-dances the funky Dancin’ Rick in a dance-off (nice to see Owen Wilson on Stiller’s side, instead of his dance-off nemesis – see the Zoolander review). However, when Rick is unfairly proclaimed the winner, Starsky pulls a gun on him – it’s now obvious that the ‘sweetener’ is cocaine. Hutch tackles Starsky and takes him home.

The next morning, Starsky and Hutch interrogate a hit man who gives up Reese’s name. So, they go undercover, as mimes, to Reese’s daughter’s bat mitzvah celebration where Starsky overhears Reese on the phone to Big Earl who says that the “package” is in the garage. In front of the guests, Starsky and Hutch bust Reese and lead them all outside. Starsky shoots the garage door open, revealing a beautiful young pony, which crumples to the ground dead. Back at the precinct, the Captain is again furious and suspends them indefinitely. But Starsky stands up and urges him to leave Hutch out of this – I shot the pony! But the Captain rebukes him, saying that Starsky had filed for a transfer two weeks ago on account of Hutch’s unlawful behavior. Hutch, cut by Starsky’s back-stabbing, storms out.

As the days go on, it’s clear that the two men miss each other. Starsky’s picturesque runs on the beach are shattered by his crying and Hutch becomes a bar drunk. It’s not until Willis, Hutch’s young friend, is hospitalised after springing an explosive trap set for Hutch that the two men meet again. Starsky brings Willis a cool illegal slingshot as a gift and Hutch is surprised. Starsky apologises and, unintentionally, cries. Hutch forgives him and the two men embrace.

Reunited, they go undercover to the Nearly There Annual Fund Raiser, having been tipped off that Reese was moving the cocaine that day. Starsky and Hutch quickly deduce that the raffle prize, a car, is housing the cocaine. When Reese calls the winning ticket, Hutch, dressed as a cowboy, jumps up to accept the prize instead of the drug dealer. Starsky pulls out his gun and demands Reese open the car’s trunk. It opens and inside are bags of cocaine. Reese takes Hutch hostage, then drops him, escaping.

Starsky and Hutch car chase Reese to the marina but it’s too late – Reese has already boarded his yacht. Hutch spurs Starsky to land his gorgeous Gran Torino onto the yacht. Afraid, but accepting the challenge, Starsky revs the engine and the car flies off the wharf, over the yacht, and splashes into the water. Reese, thinking that he’s gotten away, doesn’t see the golf club smack to the face. Huggy Bear, taking revenge for a previous demeaning altercation with Reese, saves the day. Starsky and Hutch are celebrated for the drug bust and reinstated as police officers. They leave the station, honoured, but most of all, good friends. Huggy Bear is waiting outside for Starsky with a brand new Gran Torino which is brought around by the original Starsky and Hutch. Original Starsky, symbolically, hands over the keys to the younger, and the new Starsky and Hutch tear down the road in Starsky’s trademark manic style.

Both Stiller and Wilson do a good job in roles that are hardly outside their comfort zones. Starsky, the straight-laced yet offbeat cop, is played with Stiller’s usual dim-witted comedic style that you’ve seen in Dodgeball and Meet the Fockers. And Wilson plays the well-trodden role as a shifty ladies man expertly like you’ve seen him do in Shanghai Knights. The movie, a remake of the classic 1970s US television series, could have offered more though. The plot was a lot of fun but after a couple days, few scenes leave a lasting impression. There are some scenes you remember: when Starsky and Hutch are attacked by a knife-chucking ninja midget and when Starsky plays, what he thinks, is a safe-game of Russian roulette but almost blows off his own head off. One character I vouch that you get excited to remember when you re-watch this is Huggy Bear – Snoop Dogg does such a fantastic job of playing the soft-spoken-mafia-pimp figure that you can’t help wanting to, seriously, hug the Bear. Vaughn also skillfully plays an egotistical and evil character and I would argue this suits him much better than his goody-two-shoes roles, like in Dodgeball. Verdict: it’s fun to take a ride in the Gran Torino … but you might not remember how fun it is until you ride it again.

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