Ice Cube is spending far more time these days onscreen than in the studio, so don’t expect any new music from the Barbershop 2 star on the soundtrack. Don’t expect much else, either — Shop 2 is the musical equivalent of a bad hair day. The 15 tunes here provide an unimaginative sampling of hip-hop’s B-list, including D12, Sean Paul and Eve. You’d think Cube would pull in a few heavyweights, but Shop 2 is a lite affair littered with fluffy choruses and formulaic pop hooks. G-Unit’s “Unconditionally” is a faux-funk contrivance that reeks of cutting-room floor, and the occasionally tolerable Chingy sounds tame on Mya’s “Fallen.” A few bright spots emerge from the dreck — Sleepy Brown’s “I Can’t Wait” features a typically sublime appearance from Outkast, and Floetry’s “Wanna B Where U R” includes a fluid appearance from Mos Def. Other than that, Shop 2‘s sole asset is a blessed lack of dialogue snippets.
What good soundtracks do best is make you feel like one of the characters from the film, and Starsky & Hutch places you smack-dab in the midst of the remake’s silly energy. A delightful bouillabaisse of less-than-obvious ’70s rock and soul nuggets, Starsky is nothin’ but a good time. Leon Haywood’s “I Want to Do Something Freaky” was the sonic blueprint for Dre and Snoop’s “Nothing but a G Thing,” but it sounds just as great here in all its sweat-soaked glory. Mix that with joyful pop aphrodisiacs (Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight”), kung fu funk, and Johnny Cash, and you’re ready to fire up the Gran Torino and hit the road.