Ebert: Rolling Stone: TV Guide:1/2
minor plot points revealed!
Get used to Ben Stiller. You are going to be seeing a lot of him this year. Yes, 2004 will be the "Year of the Stiller." Ben has no less than 6 films coming out over the next few months.
Starsky & Hutch doesn't come out until March 5th but I got to see a sneak preview on Feb 21st and it wasn't easy. I went to the theater thinking that no one would waste their Saturday night with a minimally advertised sneak preview but when I got to the mall it was sold out. I was upset so I ran back to my car, slid across the hood like Ken Hutchinson and drove as fast as Dave Starsky to get to another theater. The film was starting at the same time all over town but there was only this one showing. I made it to another theater with only seconds to spare and a few seats still open.
Was the movie worth risking my life and a speeding ticket? Not really, but I had been shooting my mouth off all week about going to see it and my only back up plan for the evening was to eat Pringles and read comic books all night (which I did anyway when I got home.)
If you've seen the preview for Starsky & Hutch then you've seen most of the best jokes in the movie but don't let that deter you. There are more funny moments and the jokes you already know are expanded when seen in context. Like most good comedies the jokes are paced throughout the film at a fairly even tempo but it's not rapid fire constant hilarity.
The "story" of the movie concerns the new pairing of detectives Ken Hutchinson and Dave Starsky after they get called into the chief's office to be yelled at. They are assigned a murder investigation that eventually leads them to a Cocaine dealing rich guy named Reese Feldman. Along the way they get tips from their streetwise pal Huggy Bear, score with some cheerleaders, and have run-ins with assassins, convicts and other hilarious bad guys.
The 70's look of the movie is not super specific or detailed but more of a loving parody. The whole film looks like a bunch of people dressed up for a "Pimps and Ho's Party." They did a good job of mimicking Dave Starsky's jackets and sweaters and of course the car looks perfect.
I watched the TV show a bit when I was a kid but I was never a big fan. Real fans might see all sorts of little insider jokes and stuff but as a casual viewer I can't really confirm that there is any.
My favorite scene was probably the one where they are being attacked by an assassin's son. It was unexpected and really funny. There's tons of other great stuff but that scene "sticks" in my mind. You'll see...
The actors all do a fine job. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson have good chemistry and will probably soon be the new go-to comedy duo of the decade. Vince Vaughn is really funny as the bad guy drug dealer. He, along with Wilson and Stiller seemed to be enjoying their roles. Calvin Broadus aka. Snoop Dog takes the role of Huggy Bear the snitch. He does fine but he's not a great actor and is really just there to add his cred and crunk it up a bit.
Cameo's abound as usual. Juliette Lewis plays Vince Vaughn's shorty but is not really used at all. Same goes for Carmen Electra and Amy Smart as the cheerleader girlfriends. A fatter-than-usual Chris Penn shows up as a fellow cop that likes to tease the guys. Jason Bateman in wig and mustache is on hand as Vaughn's bad guy partner but doesn't do much. The police chief is none other than the Black Caesar himself, Fred Williamson. Will Ferrell has a funny uncredited role as a convict with an odd fetish. And just for good measure, the original Starsky and Hutch show up at the end of the film to officially hand over the keys to their former roles.
I loved the film as much as I thought I would. If you only see six new Ben Stiller movies this year, make sure this is one of them.