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Starsky & Hutch

Starsky & Hutch on DVD

You can tell Hollywood is running out of ideas (though they’d never admit it) when they start making movies about 70s TV shows that should have never been made in the first place.

Todd Phillips, who previously brought us Road Trip and Old School, takes on a big budget action-comedy film with Starsky & Hutch, starring Owen Wilson and that guy who’s in every second movie of 2004, Ben Stiller. It’s pretty standard fare, but is at least a little better than a lot of the action buddy comedies of late.

Dave Starsky (Stiller) is a humorless, by-the-book undercover cop who screws up all the time. Ken Hutchinson (Wilson) is a fun-loving, slightly corrupt undercover cop who screws up all the time. Why their superiors thought it would be a good idea to team them up is beyond us. But nevertheless…

The duo’s first big case is to uncover a cocaine operation run by Reese (Vince Vaughn). This new coke (while it probably won’t be around forever) passes itself off as artificial sweetener, and can even pass the usual testing that cocaine goes through to see if it’s real cocaine. Needless to say, the pair screws up several times, angers their superiors, gets made fun of by their peers, and even gets suspended “indefinitely” (now who would have suspected that in a movie about screwup cops?).

But if you think getting suspended would stop our heroes from attempting to thwart Reese’s drug ring, you’ve obviously never seen a movie before.

Road Trip was pretty funny, and Old School was arguably one of the best movies of 2003. So of course, we were intrigued when Phillips announced he would be co-writing and directing this film.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much one person can do, and Starsky & Hutch ends up as a disappointment. There’s not nearly enough action to consider it an action film, and there’s not enough funny stuff to consider it a comedy.

It does its best at both, and it does offer a few good chuckles, but the major redeeming quality is the chemistry between the two leads. Wilson turns in his usual charming, have-a-good-time performance, while Stiller’s fits somewhere in between the two characters he’s played in his career.

Add Snoop Dogg as Huggy Bear, Amy Smart and Carmen Electra as hot cheerleaders, a sweet car, Will Ferrell as a potentially gay inmate, and cameos by the original Starsky & Hutch, and you have yourself a relatively enjoyable movie that appeals more to the mainstream crowd than the Old School crowd. Worth a rental at least.

Raking in almost $90 million at the box office, Starsky & Hutch was another hit for Phillips, Stiller, Wilson, and Warner Bros. The DVD presentation is much like the movie: good, but could have been considerably better.

The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen looks pretty good, with rich colors and sharp detail, but with a bit of softness here and there. Dust and grain are almost nonexistent, and there are no traces of edge enhancement or halos.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is pretty good too, with plenty of subtle surrounds and some excellent front-to-rear pans, particularly in the cases of bullets and vehicles. The center channel does most of the work, while the subwoofer doesn’t do much at all.

Phillips provides an admirable audio commentary for the film. He talks about the differences between the movie and the TV show, and many of the similarities. He even tried to get Stiller and Wilson to mimic the original stars in certain respects, such as Starsky’s running. It would have been a much better commentary, though, had they convinced the two stars -- and possibly even Snoop Dogg -- to participate.

Two featurettes are included, seemingly for the sake of including two featurettes. The first is “Fashion Fa Shizzle Wit Huggy Bizzle,” in which Snoop Dogg spends three minutes taking us on a tour of clothing, which also features footage of him modeling the outfits. It’s completely superfluous, but who doesn’t love Snoop Dogg?

The second featurette is entitled “Last Look Special,” and is apparently a parody of HBO’s First Look specials. It basically features the cast and crew talking about how much they dislike each other, with the occasional scene from the film. It’s funny for a couple of minutes, but runs for over nine.

A series of deleted scenes, a tremendously unfunny gag reel, and a hilarious Easter Egg round out the extras.

Starsky & Hutch, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
107 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell
Produced by Alan Riche, Stuart Cornfield, Akiva Goldsman, William Blinn, Tony Ludwig
Screenplay by John O’Brien and Todd Phillips & Scot Armstrong, Directed by Todd Phillips


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