Sunday, 18 March 2012


Hollywood continues to look not only under every stone but in the embarrassing past for ideas to drag people and their cash into the cinemas. For those who weren't of a certain age in the late 80's, the US had a teen-drama thats only boast was that it starred a young Johnny Depp.

Jump (pun intended) 20+ years and now the short-lived TV show has received the same treatment that the comedy duo of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson applied to their re-imagining of Starsky & Hutch.

The serious side along with any well-meaning message or "learn" from the original source has been well-and-truly ditched in favour of out-and-out comedy. The message here is simply "throw out any type of jokes, no matter what style, until something sticks." And for a good part of it, this approach works. Not nearly consistently enough to make it a comedy classic or a cult film, but enough to make it worth your while to watch it.

The basis of the humour falls into very familiar terrority of "mis-matched partners" and "fishes out of water" - this here being the dreaded return to High School where what was once cool is definitely not so anymore. Hill, who was the laughed-at and put-upon geek first time round, gets to trade places with Tatum, who was an all-round athlete and a shoe-in for Prom King. What on paper shouldn't work, ends up being a dependable pillar throughout its short running time and that is the pairing of Hill and Tatum. The obvious detail that both look far too old to attend High School is dealt with frequently but their attitudes and desire to be liked places them squarely amongst the surrounding teenagers.

For those who follow some of the best comedies on TV at the moment, you will find yourself delighted at all of the bit characters, with appearances from various cast members from the likes of 30 Rock, New Girl, The Office, Parks and Recreation and Scrubs. There may be times when you wished that they had a little bit more of the limelight to increase the successful joke ratio. However, then you're hit with such off-the-wall delights as the very-similar-in-execution to Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Hot Fuzz "5 stages of the new drug" sequence that most certainly hits the target of the funny bone. If you don't find at least one of the stages that Hill and Tatum experience when they take a sample of the new drug - the giggles, the confidence boost - then there is something wrong with you.

Abit hit-and-miss, there is still something for all tastes of comedy - gross-out, slapstick, in-jokes for those who know the source material - but the reverence and love that was shown to the Starsky & Hutch movie seems to be somewhat lacking here.

UK release date: 16.03.12
Certificate: 15

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