David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is a conscientious detective working in Bay City, California. He takes his work very seriously and has a lot to live up to. His late mother was the best cop the force ever had! In spite of his best efforts David is finding it difficult to live up to his mom’s reputation and has fallen out of favour with his boss.
Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) is another detective who is in trouble with the Captain. Unlike Starsky, Hutch doesn’t take the job too seriously and isn’t all that diligent. He is unorthodox and isn’t one for going-by-the-book.
In frustration the Captain pairs his two wayward detectives as partners. On their first day the reluctant duo find themselves investigating the discovery of a body which had been washed up on the shore…
This movie is a feature length comic version of the popular 1970s television cop show. The television series with David Soul and Michael Glazer in the leading roles offered more serious characters than the comic duo of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. It is really a skit or spoof on the original shows. Fans of Starsky and Hutch might feel that this movie belittles the popular show!
Most of the humour in the movie is derived from poking fun at the 1970s. There’s a lot of fun made of the bad hair-dos, frilly shirts, wide collars, very wide trousers and bizarre disco moves. Even Starsky’s jeans are pressed with a crease down the leg; so much for baggy “anti-fit” 501’s! In this respect much of the humour is visual and there isn’t enough witty or sharp humour. Also while there are some very funny parts the humour isn’t consistent and in between the funny parts it can be a little lame. One thing that still looks good (in a retro kind of way!) is Starsky’s beloved, red, white stripe, Ford Gran Torino.
With regard to the plot there really isn’t much of one! There is a thin story of a drug smuggling gangster which has been told hundreds of times. The story and action don’t have enough momentum to keep things interesting when the comedy slackens.
Ben Stiller actually makes a good Starsky. He looks quite like him, after a bit of a makeover, and with the 1970s clothes. Owen Wilson doesn’t look much like Hutch but the pair work well together. Snoop Dogg plays Huggy Bear the streetwise informant. Michael Glazer and David Soul, the original Starsky and Hutch make a cameo appearance at the end.
The Bottom Line: A little silly and forgettable; very funny in parts but not consistently funny and the plot is weak.