Movie Review

Turner and Hooch

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Comedy/Drama
Length:
1 hr. 39 min.
PG

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson, Reginald VelJohnson, Scott Paulin | Director: Roger Spottiswoode | Producer: Michael Hertzberg

A young (pre-Oscar-winning) Tom Hanks shares the spotlight with a hilarious trained dog in this canine/cop “buddy movie.”

Hanks is Scott Turner, a police investigator who is about to transfer to a big city because no serious criminal cases occur in his town and he wants a challenge. Then several weird things occur the same day, including the murder of an old man who saw and reported suspicious activity at a seafood shipping plant. Turner assumes that the man’s dog “Hooch” probably saw the murder and can ID the killer (which is correct); and since Hooch is too large and ferocious for ordinary animal handlers, the normally ultra-neat Turner must take the neglected animal home to keep him from being destroyed. Hooch (a French Mastiff, a large breed that drools out of the corners of its mouth) proceeds to wreck Turner’s home, police car, etc.

There are several on-screen killings, implied sex between Turner and a lady veterinarian whom he’s known for only a few days (with her making the first move), and some sexual joking and other mild profanities from and between the cops. There is also some cold-hearted treachery between the bad guys—no honor among thieves here. Turner is shown several times in just his brief, tight underwear. As a cop story, this is a weak plot with the normal amount of offensive material, and therefore is very ignorable. The point of the film, of course, is developing the relationship between the title characters; the cop story is secondary. In an era of very few comedies that are really funny, this one does have a lot of laughs as that relationship develops. But all that should be shown to younger kids are “selected scenes.” Besides the objectionable material noted above, the ending is sad (although it’s tempered with a little bit of a cross between “Lady and the Tramp” and “Old Yeller”).

There was a short-lived spinoff TV series of the same name, with Thomas F. Wilson (the bad guy from the “Back to the Future” movies) in the role of Turner.

Year of Release—1989

Viewer Comments

Comments from young people
Positive—Turner and Hooch has a good mix of comedy and drama. I like to think that Turner was meant to meet Hooch. God brought them together to help each other through their problems. Scott Turner’s constant worry of untidy and dirty makes me begin to suspect his behavior borders obsessive-compulsive. Then Hooch comes along practically destroys his house and his car so he doesn’t have much time anymore to worry about being clean. It’s hilarious but it also solves his problem. As for Hooch he didn’t have much of a problem to begin with, except the fact that his master was killed and finally at the end when they get the bad guy Scott and Hooch got what they wanted. Hooch got his revenge and Turner solved his case. It has a sad ending which I don’t think will be apropriet for young children. My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Christopher Shannon, age 12