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Attention, "21 Jump Street" moviemakers. I have three words -- well, two words and an ampersand -- when it comes to finding a model for turning a "serious" TV cop show into an amusing movie.

"Starsky & Hutch."

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I still think it's director Todd ("Hangover") Phillips' funniest movie, a slap-happy remake of the hit 1975-1979 series. Ben Stiller as scowling, obsessed Starsky and Own Wilson as sunny, laid-back Hutch generated an always humorous, sometimes hilarious chemistry. Phillips dropped these jokers down in an environment so blunt and tacky it was as if he had brought the TV show's props, designs and costumes out of storage and just given them a new layer of shellac. What became wildly comedic is how Starsky and Hutch grew to respect each other's narcissism, especially during a romp on the beach that recalled (1) the excesses of the TV show, (2) romantic montages from '70s chick flicks, and (3) Steve Martin and David Letterman's gay-lover parody on "Late Night."

Will Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill click equally well as undercover high school cops in "21 Jump Street?" Tatum's recent comments about the film, to be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, make it sound promising. For one thing, Tatum and Hill will play against type: "Jonah's the cool one and I'm the loser." Though the plot sounds like something right out of the repertoire of the 1987-1991 series -- the script pivots on a cutting-edge drug wreaking havoc at a high school -- Tatum says it will all be spun for wild comedy and even "fantasy" comedy.

As for a possible small part for Johnny Depp, Tatum says the "Jump Street" producers "are beating on his door so hard that I hope he answers. Yeah, we would freak out I think."

So, of course, would the audience.

Photo: Owen Wilson (left) and Ben Stiller in "Starsky and Hutch"

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