EW Staff
March 12, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

They had the hot car, the hot girls, and the hot threads. But mostly, the 1970s’ coolest TV cops had each other. Along with corralling nine Ford Gran Torinos — and that trademark belted sweater — Starsky & Hutch director Todd Phillips made sure his big-screen update kept the series’ tough-and-tender buddy relationship intact. Calling the interplay between Ben Stiller’s Starsky and Owen Wilson’s Hutch a ”romantic comedy between two straight men,” Phillips notes that the film’s sensitive moments take their cue from the show’s frequent touchy-feely scenes. ”We never talked about pushing the homoeroticism further,” says Phillips. ”You just take what’s in the show, and we’re making a comedy, so we’re playing with that. But it wasn’t a conscious decision.” What was a conscious decision was one of the flick’s funniest images: the chummy crime fighters sporting barely there towels and shoulder holsters. When Phillips saw a similar poster from the original series, he said, ”We have to make that a scene in the movie.” Two straight macho softies with a thing for tiny towels — you got a problem with that, punk?

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