Hot to Trot Review

Starting strong with a joke that suggests our narrator is an idiot, Hot to Trot is not hot at all. It is a stone-cold disaster. The late 1980s were a simpler time for comedians. Animals in human situations were still considered a delight of the genre. When a famous face or voice was hidden inside the throat of a horse or cow, the possibilities were endless. Except in the case of Hot to Trot. Its adventures in comedy are brief, unsophisticated, and would be better suited to a five-minute slot on television. Even then, it’d have been left on the cutting room floor, not stretched and struggling to fill a feature-length format.  

A whiny, high-pitched Bobcat Goldthwait, sporting a mullet and poor-fitting suit resonates poorly indeed. He is feckless, hopeless and annoying. Fred P. Chaney (Goldthwait) is a true loser. We are meant to sympathise with him for that reason alone. His shares have been bought out in the company his father runs, and he must now look after an odd horse, which speaks to him. Goldthwait is not too hot on his feet here, the back and forth dynamic he has with Don the Horse (John Candy) is stomach-churningly poor. Goldthwait’s performance is vile. His voice breaks, jumping between octaves for no other reason than he truly believes he can make something funny with vocal comedy. He cannot. Candy struggles too, and as the two team up to make tips and trades on the stock market, it is unclear where the value of Hot to Trot comes from. 

If it is meant to be a rags to riches story, then director Michael Dinner clearly needed less than fifteen minutes to present it. Chaney heads from stable hand to conglomerate hero within that time, and from there just fumbles around doing nothing at all. When your film has more than one joke centred on the song Tooty Fruity, then your work simply does not need to be seen or heard by anyone. Simplistic jokes are rife. They are arrogant, and as Goldthwait stares into the camera as Tooty Fruity plays on, he must surely be under the impression that he is doing something right. He is not. His hair throws itself around wildly, soon becoming some strange mimic of Robert Smith from The Cure. His encounters with Don the Horse are erratic, random and never planned out beyond “this could be funny,” but it never is.  

Manure jokes, jabs at ethnicity and a whole host of poorly-timed sight gags, Hot to Trot is a disastrous affair. Hot to Trot feels like a film that begs its audience to go along with the nonsense at hand. It works for those that truly try and understand their audience. We have room for the Dirty Work and Freddy Got Fingered variety, but Hot to Trot focuses too much on childish humour whilst it appeals (or at least tries to) to an adult audience. “This place reminds me of The Vatican, swanky,” Don says. Who knows what that means? Candy, Goldthwait and company certainly don’t. If they did, they’d have nothing to do with this hot mess.  

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