There's nothing more infuriating than a half-assed remake and "Starsky & Hutch" is perfect in that one sense. Sorry, kids, this one's a stinker and there's no one more disappointed than yours truly. For a lack of original ideas and out of sheer boredom, the suits in Hollywood noticed the success of "Charlie's Angels" and deduced that all successful 70s TV shows should be remade on the big screen, immediately.
The problem here is that not a single S & H fan apparently worked on this film – the result is that the only thing consistent with the television series is the car. Ooooh, that car. Racer red with a white pre-Nike swoosh, the 1974 Ford Torino is a character unto itself, sexier than anyone else in the film, without a doubt.
Forget the characters originated by David Soul as Hutch and Paul Michael Glaser as Starsky, god knows the filmmakers did. In this version, Starsky, played by Ben Stiller, is an insecure cop with mommy issues and a nervous trigger finger. He is belittled and mocked by the other cops and comes off as a desperate wannabe who goes by the book. Who the hell is that? Not the cool, tough, confident David Starsky I knew and lusted for, that's for sure.
Owen Wilson as Ken Hutchinson is less annoying but, again, a completely different character than the one created in 1975. He's a bit clueless and carefree, more boy than man, and very paternal towards Starsky.
Snoop Dogg, as favorite informant Huggy Bear, is almost as good as the car. He is fly, no doubt about it, but again, I don't remember Hug being a full-on gangster complete with beefy back-ups. The Antonio Fargas version was just a street guy on his own, since when did local immigrants have to kiss the Hug's hand for protection?
Other incidentals include Vince Vaughn as – surprise! – a cold-hearted drug dealer, Carmen Electra as a cheerleader in a tube top and the terribly wasted usage of Juliette Lewis as a ditzy drug lord mistress.
This sloppy bit of Hollywood product may play with the coveted younger set that simply isn't familiar with the original series but for those of us who are, it is an insult. The fact that the original Starsky & Hutch put in a cameo at the end, only serves to remind us that the success of the first series had everything to do with chemistry of the actors, which is understandably hard to duplicate. But, for the love of god, they didn't even try! Didn't even bother! Did they have computer software write the script? Did they direct it by remote control? Does anyone remember showing up to the set at all?
If it was meant to be a spoof on the original, than mission (somewhat) accomplished. There were funny moments but not enough to save this half-baked attempt at reliving the 70s in fictional Bay City. No amount of bad perms, disco dance-offs or thick, Starsky cardigans can save it. Next time, just give us the car.
© 2004 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 2/25/04
Starsky & Hutch
USA - 2004