Starsky & Hutch (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

You may love Ben Stiller or you may think he sucks, but irrespective of your feelings about his comedy, you have to concede one thing - the man has a tremendous work ethic. In 2004 alone, he has had starring roles in five comedies

  1. Meet the Fockers
  2. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  3. Envy
  4. Starsky & Hutch
  5. Along Came Polly

In addition, he will have a role in the mockumentary Sledge: The Story of Frank Sledge, and he made a cameo appearance with his usual comedy buddies in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy


Brande Roderick shows her breasts from the side-rear, no nipples.

His five major roles encompass a pretty good variety of films. Meet the Fockers and Along Came Polly are mainstream films, essentially romantic comedies, Dodgeball and Starsky & Hutch are somewhat edgier "pure" comedy, and Envy ... well, Envy was just a very bad mistake. Throughout most of his career, Stiller has made an entire career out of just three roles: Mr Furious, the guy with too much caffeine, Mr Clueless, the guy with an IQ in single figures, and Mr Average, the guy who represents an average schmoe like us. I prefer Stiller when he works in the normal range (There's Something about Mary, Meet the Parents), or when reaches into Mr Clueless to create a silly character (Dodgeball, Zoolander). I like Mr Furious the least. In fact, I am sick of Mr Furious, and Stiller reprises that one yet again in Starsky & Hutch, this time playing the wound-too-tight cop who has to follow the mandatory "mismatched buddy" path by partnering up with a laid-back guy who has a somewhat relaxed attitude toward crime, paperwork, and even showing up for work.

I liked the film best when it messed around with cop clichés. Starsky almost kills himself and the suspect in a wildly uncontrolled interrogation. We are reminded of necessary disguise details that Serpico conveniently ignored. When they lads go undercover in disguise, Starsky asks Hutch "who's your wigmaker?". Starsky admonishes Hutch for stealing his cool character voice instead of developing his own cool voice. The bad guys always say things like "hey, that's a false moustache!".

There are about three very funny moments in the film, but they were not inspired kinds of moments, just standard sitcom set-ups - for example, when the uptight Starsky gets a bad tip about a drug shipment and ends up riddling a pony with bullets, or when Starsky tries the ol' "drive the car off the pier onto the boat" trick and misses. Unfortunately, all of those great moments were trailered, so the pleasure of surprise was lost in the actual screening.

Starsky is an average film, a mediocre comedy which will give you a few laughs, and will bore you to tears with its predictability in other scenes. It's OK, a pleasant comedy, but just OK, no better. If you want to see Stiller's funniest comedy of the five, head out to Dodgeball, which truly has some inspired, off-the-wall moments and some sustained lunacy. Starsky is basically a slapped-together one-note comedy that can wait for your attention until it comes up on the HBO rotation.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus: three stars. James Berardinelli 3/4, Roger Ebert 3/4.

  • British consensus: two and a half stars.  Mail 4/10, Independent 6/10, Guardian 6/10, Times 6/10, Sun 9/10, Express 4/10, Mirror 8/10, BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It was a solid minor hit, with $88 million domestic, $72 million foreign. The budget was $60 million, advertising/distribution estimated at $25 million.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C. Good lowbrow or low-middlebrow comedy, but not a great one.

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