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‘Turner & Hooch’ (PG)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 28, 1989

In "Turner and Hooch," the difference between the title characters is pretty easy. One says, "Where's my motivation?" The other says, "Arf!"

Yep, we're talking boy-meets-dog, Touchstone Pictures boy-meets-dog, and Tom Hanks (he's Turner, the one that doesn't drool) doesn't need to worry too much about troublesome character questions.

He's a priss, plain and simple: snips his nostril hairs, dental flosses by the yard, cleans out the whole refrigerator if he sees so much as an errant squirt of mustard, and as a small-town detective ("inspector," he insists), he's always on the case.

Which gets him into trouble and us into Hollywood business as usual when:

• He unwillingly inherits mean junkyard dog, and domestic slob, Hooch, after the murder of its owner.

• He meets and likes veterinarian Mare ("St. Elmo's Fire") Winningham.

• He gets a little too inquisitive about fishy goings-on at the Cypress Beach Packing Plant.

But forget the vet-cum-love interest and the fish. It's the canine (not to be confused with "K-9") stuff that really matters. Hooch, an ungainly mastiff whose jowls flap in the breeze when he runs (and, yes, who has a serious saliva problem), chews upholstery, smashes stereo speakers, drinks more beer than E.T. and generally drives his reluctant owner Turner insane.

Let's face it: We all know Tom's gonna warm up to that pooch Hooch, because in Hollywood a dog is always man's best friend. And Hanks, who can even grace a film such as "The 'Burbs," is always a movie's best friend.

But we don't know that Hooch is really a thoroughbred De Bordeaux called Beasley and that Beasley doesn't do his stunts. The rough stuff is performed by stunt dog Igor. And if we remember nothing else about Roger Spottiswoode's "Turner & Hooch," let us not forget Igor.

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