Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson and Beasley the Dog
There’s nothing wrong with a good buddy-cop film. It’s a classic set up that’s been done time and time again. There was a strange period where in desperate search for originality the twist was the cop would be paired with an animal, specifically a dog. In 1989 along side Turner and Hooch there was also K-9 and then Top Dog in 1995. It’s strange that there is more than one occasion that enough people thought this was a good idea. With the Disney Plus series Turner and Hooch it’s a good time to re-visit the original.
Tom Hanks (Big, Toy Story, Forest Gump) stars as Scott Turner, a neat freak police investigator who is due to move to a big city. On one his final days on the small town police-force one of Turner’s old friends is murdered. The only witness to the crime is his dog, Hooch. Turner ends up being the one who has to look after him, after the local vet says he would make a good companion. It’s not long before Hooch clashes with Turner’s neat and tidy life.
Turner and Hooch is a strange film. It has its funny moments, and it has some very dark moments. There are too many jokes about shooting Hooch, and it’s not clear that the characters are joking. Turner actually loads his gun; he was going to kill the dog because he made a mess. It’s an odd mix, and it doesn’t always work. There are quite a few genuine laughs throughout, like when he tries to get Hooch in the car or where Hooch spots the murderer through the window and drags the table around. For each funny moment there is some awkward moments. Tom Hanks however, as always, is brilliant. He carries the entire film and elevates the comedy to make this enjoyable.
The biggest and most awkward bit of the film is the relationship between Turner and the veterinarian, Dr Emily Carson played by Mare Winningham (American Horror Story, St. Elmo’s Fire). It feels like it’s there to tick a box. Their dialogue, especially in the beach scene, is cringy at best. They have a moment making an omelette which is genuinely uncomfortable. The relationship is forced and doesn’t feel natural at all.
The majority of Turner and Hooch is about the two getting along. Once the murder takes place, the crime is placed on the back-burner while Turner re-adjusts his life to fit in his new companion. It’s easy to forget that there is even a crime to solve, and when it becomes the focus the film moves at a brisk pace. The plot may be clichéd and typical of buddy-cop films, but it still has some good laughs a long the way.
Turner and Hooch may not be a modern classic, but it’s not a bad film. It’s funny enough and not a bad way to pass the time. Apart from the dark ending, this would be a great family film to enjoy together. It’s dated now, but still a decent Tom Hanks film.