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Feathered hair, horses and sticking it to the man

Maybe it’s just because I was born in the ’70s, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that it wasn’t the styliest, if not coolest decade ever.

Maybe it’s just because I was born in the ’70s, but you’ll have a hard time convincing me that it wasn’t the styliest, if not coolest decade ever. C’mon man, all that supafly pimp shit, feathered hair, aviator sunglasses and sweaty funked out music. Sheeeittt, does it get any better than that?

Nope, which is why Starsky and Hutch , opening this week at the Village 8 is guaranteed to rule. Directed by Todd Phillips ( Road Trip, Old School) this tribute/nostalgic film stars Ben Stiller as Starsky, a devoted, by-the-book cop who’s just a tad anal (Stiller’s specialty) paired with long-time buddy and collaborator Owen Wilson as Hutch, a laid-back, likeable slacker. It’s the basic buddy cop formula, based on the romantic comedy structure of two people who meet-argue-split up-rejoin and become even better than before then win. Standard stuff but it made the original TV series a popular favourite for four years and you’d be stupid to stray too far with a remake.

The story focuses on Starsky, the overdriven freak, and Hutch – the cop who’d take money off a dead body. They have to catch bad guy Vince Vaughn, a kingpin who’s apparently figured out some nifty ways to smuggle cocaine. Add in a tomato-red 1976 Ford Gran Torino (the original car from the TV show), as well as cameos from Juliette Lewis, Wil Ferrell, Carmen Electra and incredibly sexy Amy Smart ( Road Trip, Butterfly Effect ) and you have a hit.

But the best part of Starsky and Hutch isn’t the freeze-frame ’70s style editing, or the strong on-screen charisma of Wilson and Stiller. It’s not even the realistic car chases, the bitchin’ soundtrack, or Carmen Electra and Amy Smart in cheerleader outfits. Nope, it’s Snoop Dogg bringing his cool charm and easygoing pimp-a-liciousness to the informer character of Huggy Bear. Yeah, I know Snoop’s basically playing himself, but he does such a damn fine job, and fans of the original TV show all agree, Huggy Bear was the coolest cat on the small screen back then. So check out Starsky and Hutch and let the suave silliness transport you to better times, back when the air was clean and the sex was dirty.

Also opening at Village 8 is Hildalgo, a story about that time in 1890 when an American cowboy and his mixed-breed Mustang horse entered the prestigious Ocean of Fire, a 3,000-mile survival race across the Arabian desert that until then was solely a proving ground for Arabian purebreds. Frank, the man, and Hildago, the horse, enter the race as complete underdogs and must fend off attacks from the Arabian competitors as well as save the Sheik’s daughter while outrunning the hugest sandstorm ever. All the while, Hildago reveals and strengthens that special bond between a man and his horse. Viggo Mortenson (Aragorn in Lord of the Rings ) stars – that alone should ensure enough love-crazed women see it to offset the $80 million budget. Apparently the horse is pretty good too.

Strangely Disney is touting this one as "based on a true story" although historical fact is far less sure about the American’s participation in the Ocean of Fire or the race’s existence at all. Chances are Disney needed the "true story" tagline to add drama to a film that ended up being a good idea executed poorly. Director Joe Johnson misuses his camera often and frequently edits out of scenes just as they’re getting good. Hildago is a decent adventure story about the good ol’ Yank up against the savage Arabs but other than for propaganda value, that’s about as far as she goes.

The DVD of the week is School of Rock , which should have won an Oscar for "Funniest Movie that didn’t rely on fart, dick, or puke gags." Starring physical comedy master Jack Black and director by craftsman Richard Linklater this movie is smart, wholesome, and, best of all, it teaches the greatest lesson our children could hope to learn in these troubled times – the importance of sticking it to the man.

At Village 8 March 5-11: Starsky and Hutch, Hildalgo, You Got Served, Twisted, Monster, Lord of the Rings, Eurotrip, Last Samurai, 50 First Dates, The Passion of the Christ.

At Rainbow Theatre March 5-11: Along Came Polly.