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Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie Review

Odd couple on the crime beat

Published March 8, 2004

[Warner Bros. Pictures]
Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg), Ben Stiller (Starsky) and Owen Wilson (Hutch) go retro in Starsky & Hutch.

Movie: Starsky & Hutch

Rating: PG-13

Summary: David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is an overzealous cop in Bay City, Calif. He takes his job a little too seriously and aims to be the best cop on the force. Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) is Starsky's polar opposite - he is overly laid-back and enjoys taking advantage of his powers as a police officer. Noting that their extreme ways are hurting the force, their boss decides to pair them, hoping their radically different styles of police work will balancing out each other. They are assigned to a murder case in which Hutch calls upon his close friend and informer, Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg). Starsky and Hutch soon discover that the murder is the tip of a very large iceberg: A huge drug deal that involves tons of a new hybrid cocaine is about to go down. The criminal at the head of the operation, businessman Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn), believes his plan is foolproof, but Starsky and Hutch are determined to get to the bottom of it before the drugs make it to the general population.

My View: The film is based on the popular 1970s television show Starsky & Hutch, one of the original buddy cops action/drama shows. The fun part of this big-screen version is its tongue-in-cheek nature. It makes fun of itself as it goes along and is a satire in the most entertaining sense. The '70s ambience is genuine, right down to the clothes they wore and the car they drove (Starsky's fire-engine red Ford Gran Torino). Stiller and Owen, who have shared lead roles in Meet the Parents, Zoolander and The Royal Tenenbaums, work remarkably well together; their offscreen friendship surely enhances their onscreen antics. This flick has a Zoolander feel to it, including the appearance of Will Ferrell in the role of a quirky imprisoned criminal. Snoop Dog plays his role with a flair that perfectly suits the Huggy Bear character. A cameo encounter between the original actors, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul (Starsky and Hutch, respectively), and the new, is an amusing cap to a fairly fun film, though I thought it was a bit overdone.

Recommendations: The movie's downside lies in the story's context. Drugs play a large role in the plot, and the funniest scene in the film occurs while Starsky is under the influence of some particularly potent ones. There is only one short sexual encounter, but it is somewhat disturbing. The PG-13 rating is appropriate, but parents, be sure to think twice before you allow the 13 and under crowd to view it.

Grade: B

- Billy Norris, 16, in the 10th grade at Seminole High School, is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified March 5, 2004, 13:26:28]

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