Amusing but far from arresting, Starsky & Hutch stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as the detectives made famous by the 70s TV series. Big on potential, short on really big laughs, it's a buddy cop comedy which coasts on the charisma and chemistry of its stars. One uptight, the other easygoing, they clash, carp and bond while busting Vince Vaughn's drug-dealing murderer. If you adored them in Zoolander, you'll likely like them in this. Non-fans need not apply.
The introduction is promising, with Wilson's whimsical rozzer operating outside the law, robbing bookies under the pretence of being undercover. Wise to his wiles, the hard-assed Captain Doby (blaxploitation icon Fred Williamson) partners him with Stiller's Dirty Harry wannabe (who even has a poster of Clint's iconic creation in his pad).
Pitting Hutch's crime-does-pay attitude against Starksy's by-the-book bolshiness could have provided a neat twist on the original teaming, with one partner investigating the other before they come together for the greater good. But it's an angle that's quickly abandoned once the pair finds a "floater" - a bloated corpse bobbing in Bay City harbour.
"DRIFTS BY INOFFENSIVELY"
Clues to the killer point to a supposedly respectable businessman (Vaughn, whose sublime comic touch is barely called upon) and the pair depart on the usual wild goose chase, stopping off with Will Ferrell's dragon-obsessed convict, easily charmed cheerleaders, and "urban informant" Huggy Bear (the charm-free rapper Snoop Dogg).
It all drifts by pretty inoffensively, but there are more chuckles in Wilson's largely disliked outing with Eddie Murphy, I-Spy. Without the sincerity of, say, Midnight Run, or the gag rate of Airplane!, it lives in an irony-drenched limbo between buddy caper and all-out spoof. You'll laugh, you'll sigh, you'll wish you drove a Ford Torino.