After the murder of a dockworker, big shot detective Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) must work with the only witness to solve his murder. The only problem is the witness happens to be an unruly giant dog named Hooch.
I haven’t seen this movie since I was really young, and I was [am*] obsessed with dogs. This was that buddy cop era that really liked to push the boundaries of who the buddy could be, and since Lethal Weapon pretty much corned the market on human buddy cop flicks it was only a matter of time before it would be a dog. Still they really did everything right to make this a step above just a regular goofy dog movie by casting Tom Hanks right before he really blew up in the 1990s. We all know th K9 movies with Jim Belushi and know this exact thing can go very wrong. And of course Reginald VelJohnson plays a cop, which I’m starting to think is the only thing he’s allowed to do in Hollywood. Family Matters, Die Hard, Ghostbusters, and now this…I’m sensing a pattern here. Let Carl Winslow play something else you guys!
What starts off as a burden slowly becomes a friendship, with both parties understanding each other and working together to find who killed Hooch’s owner. It also has another storyline between Hanks and the town vet, as they slowly fall for each other and it’s really sweet. Brought together by their dogs, they develop a really nice relationship together. The action really ramps up in the third act as they close in on the mysterious fishery at the center of the whole conspiracy. It takes a tonal turn a bit too aiming for the more cop procedural lens.
All in all, I watched this movie for the dog, and I was happy with it. However, I got a lot more than I expected. Tom Hanks is so charming in everything he does and this is no exception. He and Hooch have such a cute bond, and I read that the two really did have a lot of chemistry on set. And let’s be real Hooch is adorable in a giant mastiff (Dogue de Bordeaux) sort of way. If you want a gritty buddy cop flick, or even a serious movie at all this isn’t really for you. It’s silly, and I think it would have done a lot better if the audience didn’t know who the killer was from the get-go, but it’s still a cute little flick to waste some time over.
Although my favorite onscreen dog will forever be Eddie from Frasier, Hooch is easily number two. A clever script, a cute onscreen relationship between a skinny Tom Hanks and a chubby dog, what more could you really ask for?
Amy’s Recommendation: 6/10