Turner & Hooch Ep 1 Review: Josh Peck's series is a sloppy & overindulgent take on instilling forced nostalgia

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Turner & Hooch Ep 1 dropped today, i.e. July 21.
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Turner & Hooch Ep 1

Turner & Hooch Cast: Josh Peck, Carra Patterson, Vanessa Lengies

Turner & Hooch Creator: Matt Nix

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar Premium

Turner & Hooch Stars: 2.5/5

P.S. 'Slobber' is a term that will come up several times in this review, so beware, and deservedly so because Turner & Hooch relies heavily on the disgusting but overall endearing cuteness of the French Mastiff aka Hooch. While the classic 1989 film starring Tom Hanks, which inspired the spin-off, was a box-office success (albeit critics thought otherwise!) thanks to the Oscar-winning actor's quirky charm, does Josh Peck do justice in the 2021 reiteration? Let's find out!

Let's get down to the storyline of Turner & Hooch first; Josh plays Scott Turner Jr., Scott's (Hanks) son and US Marshal, who gives Monica Geller a run for her money when it comes to his OCD while everything else in his life is perfectly imbalanced. After Turner Sr.'s death, Scott receives a parting gift from his father, with who he's had a shaky equation after moving to the city; slobbery, unbridled pet dog Hooch, much to his extreme disdain. As expected, hilarity ensues as Hooch brings utter chaos slobbering his way into Scott's structured lifestyle. However, when he realises how Hooch is respectful of everyone except him (because dogs find it easier to judge human emotions than humans themselves!) and that he is a considerable asset during a particular witness protection case, Scott realises that he's being too harsh with Hooch and eventually warms up to him.

Coming along for the buddy-dog bromance ride, we have Scott's quick-witted pregnant partner Jessica (Carra Patterson), who always has his back, especially when he goofs up. There's also a love interest for Scott in Erica (Vanessa Lengies), a US Marshall K-9 facility trainer. Let's not forget, Scott's mother Emily (Sheila Kelley replacing Mare Winningham), sister Laura (Lyndsy Fonseca) and nephew Matt (Jeremy Maguire), who all try to convince Scott to look after Hooch. Ultimately, Scott and Hooch form a K-9 unit, set to work on cases together of which Hooch is most likely always going to be the smartest in the room, solving the mysteries. The major plot point in Turner & Hooch happens to be a secret investigation Turner Sr. indulged in just before his death, leading Scott to believe that his dad's death may not have been because of a heart attack. And the only one who can help him solve that mystery, tada, Hooch, of course!

Now, down to the specifics; Turner & Hooch tries too damn hard to instil forced nostalgia to a new generation as a cash cow technique by Disney, also seen with the revival of The Mighty Ducks and High School Musical. However, it somehow confuses itself between family drama and action entertainer which gives us 'too many cooks spoil the broth' kind of situation and refrains us from enjoying the carefree dramedy. In the first episode, which dropped today, i.e. July 21, the 'been there, seen that' storyline does little to entertain any age, no matter how adorable Hooch may seem. With careless editing techniques and cheesy dialogues like "Drop the gun or you'll be dog food," there isn't much to devour in Turner & Hooch and you can predict how the entire series is going to turn out.

What comes as surprising is the names attached to the legacy sequel. On one hand, you have Turner & Hooch creator Matt Nix, whose notable works include Burn Notice and The Gifted and on the other hand, you have Turner & Hooch Ep 1 director MCG, whose notable works include Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Terminator Salvation. And yet, it seems as though they're unable to decide on what exactly Turner & Hooch is trying to embody as a genre. Nevertheless, props are to be given to one particular realistic car chase sequence that doesn't try to stylize and rather emote a more believable action piece, even with sloppy dog jokes attached.

Trying to live up to Tom Hanks' level of expectations is unattainable enough but a half-baked script makes it an even gruelling task for Peck, who earnestly attempts to liven up an almost dead franchise. He finds an unruly partner in five French Mastiffs (taking over from the always cherished Beasley the Dog) aka 'a health code violation' according to a lawyer and their equation is more like the saving grace, though the caricaturish sequences can become drab after a point.

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As for the supporting cast, Turner & Hooch Ep 1 doesn't delegate much to their character development and they're rather fillers to add more spark into Scott's otherwise mundane life. One character I hope gets more weightage in the upcoming episodes is Jessica, who has to constantly battle opinions when it comes to being on the field, while heavily pregnant, rather than on the desk. There's also a likeable camaraderie between Josh and Carra, which should be explored more. While Vannesa's Erica is more a stereotypical lovesick adult, there wasn't much credence given to Sheila and Lyndsy either. The 'daddy issues' storyline is dealt with in an abrupt manner and hence, you don't really relate to any of the Turner family members' emotions like you deeply did with Turner Sr. in the original. Not much is explained about Brandon Jay McLaren's enigmatic US Marshal Xavier in Ep 1, who's described as the jock in town everyone panders to.

In finality, Turner & Hooch didn't leave a good first impression on me, especially with its overindulgent, sloppy storytelling. Did I forget to mention the 80s and 90s amateur villains!? It's a classic case of: "Can’t teach an old dog new tricks." Fun fact: Turner & Hooch was attempted to be made in a television series back in 1990 as well with Thomas F. Wilson as Scott Turner. However, that never took off. As the saying goes, some things are better left in the past!

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