Turner & Hooch (1989) starring Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson, Reginald VelJohnson, Scott Paulin, J.C. Quinn directed by Roger Spottiswoode Movie Review

Turner & Hooch (1989)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch (1989)

Hooch is Downed by Crime Caper

With just a few days left till Detective Scott Turner (Tom Hanks - The 'burbs) leaves his job for a better one in the city things suddenly get messy when an old timer who lives on the docks is murdered. Leaving behind a slobbering dog called Hooch, Scott finds himself forced to look after the massive mutt and soon finds that having a dog is neither cheap nor easy especially for someone who is obsessive over being neat and tidy. But as Hooch maybe able to identify the murderer Scott has no choice and slowly they begin to bond with a little help from vet Dr. Emily Carson (Mare Winningham).

Whilst I absolutely love "Turner & Hooch" it has to be said it is a movie which comes up serious short on storyline. In fact it is a movie of two storylines, you have a detective story which basically bookends the movie and in between you have the storyline of ibsessively clean Detective Turner looking after the less than clean, slobbering canine Hooch. It is the fun of Detective Turner's life being turned upside down by the slobbering Hooch which dominates the movie and is where it works best. But to be honest it's not overly original, dog wrecks home, Detective Turner stresses out until they finally bond and as such various scenes feel all too familiar as if you've seen the same scene in another movie.

Hooch in Turner & Hooch (1989)

The trouble is that whilst "Turner & Hooch" is good fun watching Turner and Hooch bond, when that is done with and we return to the actual crime storyline it feels wrong. It even feels more wrong when something quite surprising happens during the final part of the movie which borders on the cruel and shocking. I say shocking because you don't expect it to happen in what has been a light weight fun movie.

As such "Turner & Hooch" is at its best when Tom Hanks is exploring the comedy of having a dog for the first time. It has to be said that there is a great bond between Hanks and the Dogue de Bordeaux which plays Hooch and so all the canine capers as Hooch wrecks his home, has a bath and so on are all amusing. But you also can't help but laugh at Hanks as he gives Detective Turner a obsessive cleanliness, and again it is Hanks perfect delivery, a slight look or a mannerism which makes all of this so entertaining.

Unfortunately when the story switches to being a straight detective story Hanks doesn't deliver it but that is because it feels such a shift in style and pace that the change in character is wrong. And because so much time is focused on the bonding btween Turner and Hooch that those supporting actors such as Reginald VelJohnson and Craig T. Nelson are unable to help in the shift in style although Mare Winningham does well in the ubiquitous romantic sub plot.

What this all boils down to is that for the most "Turner & Hooch" is good fun with Tom Hanks on fine form when the movie focuses on the comedy of Detective Turner coming to terms with a slobbering dog ruining his life and home. Unfortunately it is slim on storyline so when it isn't giving us comedy as Hooch ruins Turner's life it struggles to remain interesting and then goes wrong with a twist which just doesn't feel right in what is really a lightweight comedy.

Tags: Dog Movies