Let It Ride Is An Uninspired Movie With A Promising Premise
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Comedy movies really, really like to take the topic of gambling and use it as material. I mean, why wouldn’t they? It’s easy to script schadenfreude and humiliation around a person’s bad luck and despair, and just as easy to write slapstick that revolves around some hare-brained scheme to get a lot of money, and quick. Or using humor to examine the way people work when they’ve run into a lot of luck and neglect the people around them, like what happens in Let It Ride, a (poorly-reviewed) movie about horsetrack gambling.
As opposed to other films about gambling that generally feature the protagonist run into some terrible gambling luck (and the inevitable debt), Let It Ride (the title of the movie being a reference to the gambling term “let it ride,” which is either a variation of poker or just a pretty obvious saying) is about the extremely good luck of cab driver Jay Trotter (played by Richard Dreyfuss, who leads a cast with some minor gems such as Jennifer Tilly and Robbie Coltrane, of Harry Potter fame) who becomes really, really lucky and the horse races. In fact, he becomes so lucky that it’s downright impossible, and the only problem he’s got in the entire movie is his relationship with his wife, whom he’s neglected because he’s become addicted to gambling. You’d think that such a feel-good plot would make this film such a classic, but as with all things, a story that contrived won’t earn many rave reviews.
This review will add to that pile of negativity.
Let It Ride doesn’t really offer a lot in the way of meaning, with its trailer not even shedding a lot of light on why Jay’s story is any bit compelling at all.
Dreyfuss’s performance as Jay Trotter the selfish but relatable gambler (I mean, who doesn’t want to be really lucky and push his luck as much as he can?) earns points and the only positive review for being quite a charming movie protagonist, but beyond that, there’s not much depth at all to Let It Ride. The cast is merely all here to play their roles, and nothing more.
The attempt to put Jay’s marriage troubles as the central conflict of the movie is noble, but it becomes resolved too quickly and shoddily (I mean, really, Jay’s wife is okay with everything just because she got a diamond necklace? There are women who are that easy to please, but even if it’s 1989, they could’ve done a lot better there.)
However, just because a critical review of Let It Ride is a little cruel, doesn’t mean that the film doesn’t have its merits. It’s not the best movie ever, but it’s still got some heart, a grounded story that resonates among the unlucky in life.
And there are a lot of them, because that’s just the way life works. It’s entirely possible that you could watch this film and enjoy it for the story. If you’re one of those people, then you don’t really need this review, and that’s totally all right. It means you know what you want, and you’re the kind of person who won’t let someone else’s review ruin your enjoyment of a movie like Let It Ride.
Maybe you could watch Let It Ride on a boring day when you want to feel some sort of good feeling but can’t find anything else, but find a movie with better reviews, and a better cast. It’s entirely possible that you could settle for this, but a part of me wants to tell you that you can spend your time a lot better, even if you can insist on your own tastes. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to the genre of comedy in film. It’s all right.
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