Director Todd Phillips moves fluidly from the neo-cracker-barrel camaraderie and toasted brains of last year’s Old School
to the reluctant partnering and burnt rubber of old-school TV cop shows with this slight but continually goofy homage to the series and the entire disco era. The title characters (played here by the organically funny Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson) are a sort of comic odd couple of law enforcement in a back story that the series never provided. The film introduces the two very different but ultimately complementary cops (Starsky is all sun-glassed bravado and perm, and Hutch is soft-spoken and politely larcenous) and segues into their coupling and first assignment, which involves a murder and dope dealing. If the film makes any point at all, it is that sometimes poking fun at the past is better than playing it straight. At least all the laughs and groans in this film, as compared with those produced by remakes of The Mod Squad
and The Avengers
, are intentional.