Bay City, the Seventies. Ben Stiller is all-work-and -no-play cop David Starsky, dark curly hair, leather jacket, tight jeans, tighter attitude. Owen Wilson is cop-when -he-feels -like-it Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson, beach blonde, laidback clothes, even more laidback attitude. Everything separates these two, so naturally the police chief (Fred Williamson) makes them each other’s partner. Hilarity ensues… not.
I like Stiller and Wilson, I really do. They can both be funny on their own and they play well off each other, but they need better material than these witless mainstream flicks. “Starsky & Hutch”, like Zoolander, is a one-joke flick. You could make great 5 minute skits about dumb male models or ‘70s cop shows, but when you stretch these things over 90 minutes they become more blah than ha ha ha.
So you got these old muscle cars, tacky ‘70s clothes, guys with afros, cheesy ‘70s music, and that’s about how “inspired” the film’s three credited writers got. Didn’t we get a lame ‘70s parody already a couple of years ago?
There’s some idiotic plot about a new kind of cocaine that can’t be detected (“New Coke”), which I can accept as just an excuse for gags, but what gags? There’s a pointless “Easy Rider” spoof, a scene that goes on way too long in which Starsky takes “new coke” by accident, a disco dance-off, our two stupid cops posing as mimes, endless homoeroticism…
They bring in Amy Smart and Carmen Electra for a pretty hot cheerleading number, but then for the rest of the movie they just stand around with nothing to do, no good lines, no funny set-ups, nothing. Juliette Lewis is also criminally wasted, and even Vince Vaughn as the bad guy drug dealer gets nothing to work with beside a handlebar mustache (that’ll only get you so far on the laugh-o-meter – let’s see, um, 0.2). Snoop Dogg has a few juicy moments as mack daddy police snitch Huggy Bear and the dragon scene with Will Ferrell is hilarious, but that’s only a few fun drops in a sea of humdrum.