Urban Cinefile
"You know, your mothers are there and I'm showing my underwear. My underwear - it's a really big deal to show my underwear, that can be harmful later on in life - "  -Christina Ricci on shooting Opposite of Sex
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Detective David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is manically dedicated to his job, but can never keep a partner for long. Detective Ken 'Hutch' Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) has his own career problems: his hazardously laidback personality and keen eye for spotting a quick buck are not always in order. Exasperated Bay City Police Captain Dobey (Fred Williamson) solves both his problems at once - by pairing them. With the help of Hutch's informant Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg), the two begin to unravel a murder investigation linked to a drug consortium. All signs point to wealthy businessman Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn), but getting proof is another thing.

Review by Louise Keller:
A buddy cop movie filled with genuine laughs, Starsky and Hutch is another ace vehicle for Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Humour figures pretty highly in this comedy based on opposites with Stiller playing the uptight Starsky ('my hair's naturally curly') and Wilson laid back as the lack-a-daisical Hutch, who revels in being a 'bend-the-rules' kinda guy.

This former cop-show comes out of the 70s (as did the remake of Shaft) and burns into cinemas in a zooped up red and white Torino, dishing up a dose of playful escapism that simply zings. Writer/director Todd Phillips has got the tone just right, managing an easy combo of action with comedy tinged with an appealing sense of the ridiculous. The humour is contained so it never becomes so over-the-top that the essence of story is jeopardised. Best of all, the yin and yang chemistry between the two leads makes the sparks fly and our laughter unravel.

This is the swinging 70s and the look is brown, beige and purple suits, plaid jackets, brocaded denim and floral shirts. The big band score reflects the music of the era with tunes from Barry Manilow, Johnny Cash and The Carpenters; plus there's the hair, the wigs and the water beds. Irrespective of whether or not you were around for the 70s, it is impossible not to connect with the tongue-in-cheek affection that the filmmakers have poured into the project.

Snoop Dogg is good value as the street-wise informant dude who 'lays it all out for y'all to play out'. His costumes scream for attention in both colour and style, and nothing can surprise us more than when he is sent undercover as golf caddy to Vince Vaughn's drug lord.

One of my favourite scenes takes place at the gaol, when the boys are interrogating a kinky snitch with a penchant for navels and dragons. The total disdain and reluctance that Wilson displays for co-operating is a treat to watch. Other highlights include the Easy Rider sequence, when Starsky and Hutch head out to the bikie hang-out undercover and in disguise as the most unlikely named Kansas and Toto. Yes, they also dress as Marcel Marceau in a mime double act, and then there's the final climactic scene when disguises go beyond wigs and moustaches. Good to see the stars of the original TV series, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, who appear in a short cameo towards the end of the film. It looks as though everyone had a lot of fun making this load of wacky escapism, and we do too.

The DVD is lots of fun and after watching the gag reel, it's hard to imagine how the actors ever kept a straight face. This is a sure way to lift your spirits. There's an audio commentary from director Todd Phillips, a fashion feature featuring the outlandish fashions of Huggy Bear, deleted scenes and the behind the scenes special is terrific, with (for once) candid interviews with cast and crew. Everybody left their egos at the door, says Phillips.

Published August 19, 2004

Email this article


CAST: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Fred Williamson, Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis, Jason Bateman, Amy Smart

DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips

SCRIPT: John O'Brien, Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong (story by Stevie Long, John O'Brien; characters by William Blinn)

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Todd Phillips, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson; Fashion Fa Shizzle Wit Huggie Bizzle (translated this title means Fashion insights with Huggy Bear); Last Look Special (Documentary Spoof); Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; Theatrical Trailer and Easter Egg: "Vince's Bit for the Kids" - Vince Vaughn on Brady Brunch trivia test!


DVD RELEASE: August 18, 2004

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020