Forgotten Friday Flick – “Let It Ride”

What the world needs now is love, sweet lov….wait, forget that!  What it needs is a good comedy to keep the spirits up and this week’s selection doubles down on the funny film stuff – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today we’re checking out hidden gem that not only is rolling in laughs, but dough as well.  Seems a down on his luck gambler is provided with an opportunity to finally make good – if he can swim through the sea of money grubbing sharks along the way.  Betting big, winning big and contemplating what to do next – Let It Ride!

Jay Trotter is an average man with a life filled with both ups and downs.  On the down side he’s a gambler, drives a cab and has little prospects in terms of a big future.  Though on the up side he’s got a wonderful wife Pam whom he is dedicated to and the two have decided to ‘start their marriage over’ by getting ride of past baggage, vices and the like and start their lives anew.  But when Jay’s cabbie buddy Looney secretly records a conversation in the back of his taxi and it’s revealed that a certain upcoming horse race is a lock, Jay finds himself deep into old habits again.  And after actually winning for one of the first times in his life, Jay gets a sudden divine feeling like today is going to be a lucky day.

First and foremost, the screenplay of Let It Ride is paramount to why the film is so spectacular.  Penned by scribe Nancy Dowd (she of Slap Shot fame!) credited as Ernest Morton (give that woman credit – she damn well deserves it!) based on the book Good Vibes, Dowd let’s her laughs come out of real situations, but adding just a hint of wacky.  The plight of her lead everyman is incredibly engaging and makes the film totally relatable – we want Jay to win.  Plus her character building skills are top notch (even her race track teller has personality!), her lines are iconic (‘God likes me! He really, really likes me!’) and she’s even able to squeeze in some well-placed drama when needed.  Not that the direction by Space Jam alum Joe Pytka isn’t solid in keep the pace moving fast and furious with funny stuff, but with Dowd’s brilliant blueprint there’s little room for error.

But filling out Dowd’s wondrous character filled world is a killer cast is also important and Let It Ride chooses only the comedy best of the best.  The hilarious Richard Dreyfuss as lead schlub Jay, David “Scrooged” Johansen as his hapless friend Looney, Teri Garr as his high-strung wife, Jennifer Tilly as an opportunistic waif and even the great Robbie Coltrane as a sassy desk jockey all breathe extra life into Dowd’s delicious work.  (Plus look for an early turn by braces wearing Cynthia Nixon and some Mary Woronov sandwich lady action!)

Let it Ride was far from a huge hit, instead falling by the wayside of various comedies of the 80’s era that came and went due to an oversaturation of similar stuff.  (Don’t have that problem anymore – damn!)  But what’s brilliant, beautiful and utterly movie memorable about the film is that it’s a perfect match of script and cast working in tandem to create a world where finally, just once, the little guy gets his due – Let It Ride is a safe bet.


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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