Owen Wilson has a smarmy-cool, utterly natural screen persona of wicked, crooked smiles, cheeky ad-libs and ironically understated wisecracks. He never strays far from this trademarked character, but no matter who he's playing -- petty criminal ("The Big Bounce"), crooked cowboy ("Shanghai Noon"), severely dysfunctional pop novelist ("The Royal Tenenbaums") -- he seems like a guy it would be fun to hang out with.
Ben Stiller, on the other hand, has fallen into a terrible rut as an insufferable prat. Whether he's a caricature of a romantic failure ("Along Came Polly"), a caricature of a dim-bulb fashion model ("Zoolander") or a caricature of a nervous son-in-law ("Meet the Parents"), he never strays far from the same brand of off-putting, uptight dorkiness masked in mock-cool-guy pouts and tedious moments of deliberately cheesy slow-motion (say, while dancing like a dork, strutting like a dork or running like a dork). He seems like a guy you wouldn't want to spend two minutes with if you could at all help it.
Wilson has been a breath of scene-stealing fresh air in several Stiller vehicles (especially in "Zoolander" and "Meet the Parents"), but their yin-and-yang routine hits a wall in "Starsky and Hutch," a lifelessly stale parody-remake of the none-too-great-in-the-first-place 1970s cop show.
Continue reading: Starsky & Hutch Review