Turner & Hooch Review : As far as I can tell, geriatric millennials and childish Gen Xers are largely nostalgic for a poster, the picture of a blank-eyed Tom Hanks looking into the middle distance I’m assuming someone put a dollop of peanut butter behind Tom Hanks’ left ear while a slobbering mastiff looks happily at it.
Turner & Hooch is simply The Odd Couple if Felix and Oscar investigated crimes and Oscar humped Felix’s leg, so it’s probably not nostalgia for the idea. A lot more often.
It’s probably not nostalgia for the topic, which is “Dogs are clever and adorable” puppaganda on the surface and “Dogs don’t have to worry about Miranda rights or search warrants” copaganda under the surface. Turner & Hooch was part of a tiny wave of films in the 1980s and 1990s — see also K-9 and Top Dog — aimed at repairing the image of police K-9 units, which had been portrayed as savage opponents of peaceful demonstrators for decades.
Turner & Hooch memorabilia isn’t going to be a tastefully conservative item. It’s just Tom Hanks and a slobbering mastiff in third-tier charm mode.
I suppose easy-to-please fans will be half-satisfied with Disney+’s latest sequel to Turner & Hooch, which offers at least one of those elements but not much more. Is there anyone else? What did you expect to happen? Turner & Hooch, a Disney+ cop/dog buddy reboot, isn’t the Battlestar Galactica of cop/dog buddy reboots.
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Josh Peck plays Scott Turner Jr., the son of Tom Hanks’ character from the film, and captures at least a sliver of Hanks’ loose-limbed everyman appeal from the time period. Scott is a driven U.S. marshal with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Scott converses with his Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner that careens around a spotless San Francisco apartment with all the utility of a Maytag repairman.
When his sister Laura (Lyndsy Fonseca) arrives at his door with the latest in a succession of Hooches, the relatively new mastiff left homeless following Scott Senior’s death, Scott is tidy, professional, and completely unprepared. This Hooch, like the original, enjoys salivating, sprinting in slow motion, and destroying things at a rate that, given Scott’s apartment’s location, may be monetarily prohibitive.
Scott is forced to take Hooch on rides with his pregnant partner, Jessica (Carra Patterson), and the persistent pup soon runs afoul of their boss (Anthony Ruivivar), necessitating the help of K-9 facility trainer Erica (Vanessa Lengies), who develops such a fast crush on Scott that the writers decided she didn’t need any additional character traits.
Meanwhile, Laura has found that, despite being a small-town cop, Scott Senior had been gathering evidence for a potentially important case, and that his death, ascribed to a heart attack, may not have been as natural as it seemed.
Because calling Turner & Hooch otherwise narratively flimsy would be an insult to flimsy things, that bigger-picture storyline is probably the only way the programme could work as an ongoing series.
Each of the three episodes provided to critics has the same general premise: Hooch makes a mess, and Scott’s job appears to be in peril, but Erica explains that he’s just misinterpreting animal behaviour, and it turns out that Hooch is actually quite useful once you get beyond the drool. It’s mystifying to me that anybody would think Turner & Hooch is material for a TV series — especially one with hourlong episodes — since the film was less than 100 minutes long and comprised of maybe three plot beats repeated ad nauseam (44 minutes, technically, but still too long).
What’s more bizarre is that the individuals behind Turner & Hooch are far overqualified. Matt Nix, best known for his work on Burn Notice, conceived the show, and McG directed the pilot. The show’s cheery action rhythms and derivative flash can be interpreted as evidence of the latter contributor. The series’ one early creative episode, a lengthy Die Hard spoof in which the pretzeling required to convey one ridiculous allusion is so intricate that it made me laugh rather hard, points to Nix’s sweet spot.
The decision to make Scott a marshal avoids the politics of making this a cop comedy and allows Nix to put the characters in a variety of situations without worrying about jurisdiction.
The dog or dogs portraying Hooch are perfectly acceptable and anthropomorphized to the point of exhaustion, and fans apparently wouldn’t have it any other way. This means a lot of slobbering — pro tip: there aren’t enough synonyms for “slobber” — and, in the third episode, a lot of squeaking on a fish chew-toy, a plot that must have been pitched in the writers room as “Wouldn’t this be funny and annoying?” but only plays as one of those two things onscreen.
Peck’s exasperation with his canine co-star is palpable, and there’s some charming, utterly desexualized flirtation with Lengies that, after three episodes, is beginning to wear thin. Patterson is the series’ closest thing to a well-developed supporting character, and she and Peck are pleasant enough as a couple.
I’m not sure what Fonseca, Brandon Jay McLaren, or numerous other members of the cast are doing here, or what the Turner & Hooch historical brand name signifies in this context.
Mare Winningham has been replaced as Scott Senior’s widow by Sheila Kelley, who has been given no responsibilities. Scott Senior’s colleague in the film, Reginald VelJohnson, reprises the role in the Die Hard episode, a relationship that isn’t mentioned.
Turner & Hooch, more than anything, follows a recent trend of nostalgic pandering in which, if nothing else, the reboots are living up to the originals’ mediocre quality. Mighty Ducks has already established itself as a charming, though minor underdog sports series on Disney+, which seems apt. Space Jam recently got a sequel or remake or whatever it’s called, and if it’s virtually unwatchable but still quick and furious, that’s OK.
Turner & Hooch Official Trailer
As a result, I’m not complaining when I describe Turner & Hooch a forgettable, one-joke comedy series. It’s difficult to speculate on what else it may have been.