Historic and Pared Down
March 16, 2012 by Nicholas
Starsky and Hutch is my favourite Ben Still and Owen Wilson comedy. It isn’t my favourite Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn comedy (Wedding Crashers) or my favourite Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn comedy (Dodgeball). It’s not even the best thing one of the Wilson brothers and Ben Stiller have done together (Anchorman). It’s not bad though. It is passably entertaining and has a few very funny sequences in it.
Starsky and Hutch is a TV show about two cops. It’s American and people a bit older than me seem to have very fond memories of it. They’re probably wrong, but I have fond memories of The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team, so I am not sure I can sit in judgement. I am not sure how kind or how close the film is to the series, the names are apparently the same but it doesn’t seem content to just mock the show and takes aim at a lot of other cultural standards as well as being plain weird in places.
The plot revolves around an unlikely pairing of two policemen: one is a hereditary policeman who does everything by the book and is intent on doing a great job, the other is a slob who wants to make life as easy as possible. There isn’t much in the way of friction between them, however, as everything else around them is often funnier. Along the way they encounter Vince Vaughn’s charming and ruthless Jewish drug smuggler, a black separatist pimp played by Snoop Dogg, engage in a needless but very funny parody of Easy Rider and encounter Will Ferrell (in a surprisingly good cameo) who plays a mad biker with a sexual interest in dragons.
That is not even getting to my favourite part of the film: the disco dance off. Ben Stiller’s character gets off his face and decides to take everyone to the club. Of course, it’s the seventies and a cut price cross between Saturday Night Fever and Studio 54. Stiller then challenges one of the regulars to a dance off and engages in some hilarious (and embarrassing) comedy that makes me laugh every single time I see it.
The rest of the film is largely formulaic, but it is the jokes that make it well worth the watch. And the easy charisma of the 3 main leads. They’re engaging, they interact marvellously and they’re funny without even trying to be. They’re just better in other combinations in other films. Apart from Zoolander.