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Legacy Review

Turner & Hooch (1989)

Sometimes it’s a relief to watch a movie that’s exactly what it says on the tin. Turner & Hooch promises, from its title and its poster and its logline, cop Tom Hanks (Turner) and a big slobbery dog (Hooch). Literally every beat in the movie supports the central thesis: cop Tom Hanks and a big slobbery dog. It is no more and no less than that, and sometimes that’s all you need.

Here, cop Tom Hanks is an investigator of two-bit crimes in a small California shore town. He’s a neurotic, uptight goober, very cleanly and protective of his possessions. Sure would be problematic if he got a big slobbery dog, wouldn’t it?

He eventually gets that big slobbery dog while investigating a local murder, and hilarity ensues. Hanks has some glorious meltdowns. The big dog chews a lot of cop Tom Hanks’s stuff, and also he slobbers. There’s a pleasant, conflict-free romance subplot where cop Tom Hanks dates an attractive vet played by Mare Winningham. The cop from Die Hard, Reginald VelJohnson, is there for one reason or another, too.

The film’s final act gets a bit too dark as the crime story takes center stage. Cop Tom Hanks goes rogue and does some police brutality. There’s one really unnecessarily sad twist that doesn’t match the rest of the film’s tone, and it’s a doozy, but everything else is the expected small-town happily ever after.

You know what? Turner & Hooch works. I like Tom Hanks. I like big slobbery dogs. I like this movie.

Is It Good?

Good (5/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.


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