A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Turner & Hooch is a mostly lighthearted '80s dog-cop buddy movie that involves the stabbing of a man and his death and (SPOILER) a dog's shooting and subsequent death. There are guns and knives present a terrifyingly large, barky, excessively slobbery dog to be trained, a lot of yelling at the dog, and some minor suggestive material (a man jokes to another man that he "needs to get laid," and a man and woman discuss whether he's thought about having sex and it's implied that they sleep together). That said, compared to most films today, the level of violence, sexuality, and murder here seem absolutely tame.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is an investigator in a small town where nothing ever happens. That changes when a source is murdered, leaving behind Hooch, an aggressive French mastiff with a lot of slobber who happens to be the only witness to the crime. Now Turner must solve the crime without much help from his boss, Chief Hyde (Craig T. Nelson), while training an unruly companion who turns his organized life to shambles but may also lead him to love with local veterinarian Dr. Carson (Mare Winningham).
Is it any good?
TURNER & HOOCH is a well-intentioned but fairly cheesy buddy picture whose appeal hinges on your tolerance for slobbering dogs and extended scenes of loud barking. But it has a certain charm as a genre film from an era that seemed to churn them out like clockwork. That said, there's enough violence to concern parents -- multiple murders and a dog's death, shown in teary-eyed close-up -- though still nothing on the level of most action movies today.
For children of a certain age group, though, the excessive slobber and destruction of prized possessions committed by the dog may be worth the price of admission alone. For parents, it will be a funny reminder of Hanks' early Big-era work, even if it's not his best.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ethical treatment of animals. Do you think Hooch was treated fairly in the film? Would a movie today involve so much yelling at a dog? Here, it plays for comedy, but in real life how are dogs typically trained when they're loud or aggressive?
How did Turner and Hooch affect each other? Was it a positive relationship for both of them? Why, or why not?
How does the violence in this film compare to that in more contemporary movies? Is it more or less realistic?
- In theaters: July 28, 1989
- On DVD or streaming: April 2, 2002
- Cast: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson
- Director: Roger Spottiswood
- Studio: Touchstone Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: April 17, 2021
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