Don’s mother is unable to speak “but she understands”. She asks Bobcat – through Don’s translation – “what’s it like to face someone during sex.” I honestly never thought I’d hear sex jokes in a talking horse movie.
Speaking of which, Don gets so lonely living in the penthouse that he orders an inflatable horse. I never thought I’d be BOMBARDED with sex jokes in a talking horse movie.
I really wish I could’ve lived my entire life ignorant of the existence of inflatable sex horses. Thank you, Hot to Trot, for scarring me for life!
This film’s biggest highlight involves a sequence in which Don unwittingly invites several self-professed “party animals” – including dogs, ducks, pigs, goats, and horses – over to Bobcat’s penthouse for a party. To the surprise of no one, the critters proceed to trash the apartment in a violent montage accompanied by Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)”. All the while, Don yells at his guests in their respective animal languages. And it’s all subtitled!
To call this sequence absurd would be a gross understatement.
For reasons I won’t even begin to get into, the movie ends with a big horse race. If Dabney Coleman’s horse wins the race, Don gets sent to the dog food factory. If Don (ridden by Bobcat) wins, Bobcat gets total ownership of the brokerage firm and Don gets Dabney Coleman’s lady horse, Satin Doll.
Do we get a scene where Don ogles Satin Doll? *Sigh*… Yes. The camera ever-so-slowly tracks over the body of the lady horse, as if she was Megan Fox in Transformers. It boggles the mind that a movie with so much animal erotica could earn a PG rating. If there’s a movie with more horse-related sex humor, I don’t want to know about it. DO NOT EMAIL ME ABOUT IT! It’s bad enough to suffer the indignity (third time I’ve used that expression!) of one horse-sex humor-riddled film. I don’t think I could endure another.
Here’s some actual dialogue from Don: “Check out the mane on that tomato!”
Don manages to win the race by insulting all the other horses as he passes them by, causing them to veer off the track in a “comical” fashion. And Don’s dead dad comes back as a horsefly (get it?) to inspire and tough-talk Don to victory. And it’s all accompanied by music from the old Looney Tunes cartoons.
And if that’s not ridiculous enough, the movie ends with Don at the dentist’s office getting his teeth capped. And the dentist is played by Gilbert Gottfried! And Gottfried is shocked that Don can talk. Shouldn’t he be more shocked that he’s performing dentistry ON A HORSE?
I’m sure there’s a joke to be made about not looking a gift horse in the mouth. But I refuse to make that joke. I’m sick of horse jokes!
I’m sure an argument could be made that Hot to Trot is supposed to be a critique of the yuppie ‘80s – that a horse would be just as good at picking stocks as any “expert.” In that light, Hot to Trot could be seen as a comedic version of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, with Charlie Sheen being replaced by a talking horse. Perhaps I’m being too analytical of a film whose opening scene involves someone stepping in horse shit.
It’s no masterpiece, but it’s certainly a piece of something.
Hot to Trot features an odd soundtrack courtesy of Danny Elfman. Mixing elements of Dixieland Jazz, Midwestern Polka and generic dive bar “blues/rock”, the resulting cacophony sounds strikingly similar to the scene transition music from “The Drew Carey Show.” It’s interesting to note that Elfman scored this clunker in the same year he scored Beetle Juice, inarguably one of his best soundtracks. Even in the most creative period of his career Danny Elfman still couldn’t raise this film from mediocrity.
And as enjoyable as John Candy’s performance may be, it’s not quite enough to save this movie. There’s just way too many horse puns. One of the writers is named Stephen NEIGHER. Even his name is a horse pun! The film’s tagline promises that “You’re gonna laugh yourself hoarse.” A more accurate tagline would’ve been, “You’ll be tired of horse-related puns after 20 minutes, then you’ll want to ship this lame horse of a movie to the glue factory.”
1 ½ Inflatable Horses out of 5
The Francis the Talking Mule movie series includes the following titles: Francis the Talking Mule (1950), Francis Goes to the Races (1951), Francis Goes to West Point (1952), Francis Covers the Big Town (1953), Francis Joins the WACS (1954), Francis in the Navy (1955) (featuring a young Clint Eastwood), and Francis in the Haunted House (1956). The first six films were directed by Abbott and Costello veteran Arthur Lubin, who went on to produce and direct the TV series “Mister Ed,” widely regarded as the gold standard of all talking horse media.
The tactic of winning by “insult fighting” would later be put to much better use in LucasArts’ “Monkey Island” computer game series.
After the success of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Tim Burton was approached to direct this film. He declined the offer.
In order to make the horses talk, a crewmember yanked violently on a wire attached to the equine’s lips. The image of the horse wincing in pain and baring its teeth created the illusion of speech. This is the same technique that was used on “Mr. Ed
Joan Rivers was originally set to star in Bobcat Goldthwait’s role, but was fired after her late night talk show was cancelled in 1987.
Elliot Gould was the original voice of Don the horse. After the film was universally panned in test screenings, the horse’s part of the script was re-written by Sgt. Bilko (1996) scribe Andy Breckman. John Candy replaced Elliot Gould as the voice of Don. During his re-recording sessions, Candy threw out the script and ad-libbed the entire role.
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