Hot to Trot
|Hot to Trot|
Theatrical film poster
|Directed by||Michael Dinner|
|Produced by||Steve Tisch
|Written by||Stephen Neigher
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Cinematography||Victor J. Kemper|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||August 26, 1988|
|Running time||88 minutes|
|Box office||$6,436,211 (USA)|
Hot to Trot is a 1988 comedy film released by Warner Bros. It stars Bobcat Goldthwait as an investment broker, Dabney Coleman as the head of the company Bobcat works for and John Candy as the voice of a horse that helps Bobcat's character make smart decisions in investing. The original music score was composed by Danny Elfman. The film's tagline is: "When I talk, you're gonna laugh yourself hoarse."
Simpleton bachelor Fred Chaney (Goldthwait) inherits a buck-toothed horse named Don and one half of a stock brokerage firm from his dead mother. He discovers Don is a talking horse (who can also speak the language of several other animals) that belonged to his deceased father. His stepfather Walter Sawyer (Coleman) offers to buy out Chaney's share of the business for a paltry sum, but Chaney refuses. Instead Chaney returns Don to his talking-horse family in the countryside and claims his place as partner at the firm. Chaney takes over an office and begins working as a broker, much to the chagrin of Sawyer. Don the horse overhears a stock tip and calls Chaney, presumably using his teeth to dial the phone. Chaney acts on the investment advice and becomes wealthy overnight.
Chaney rents a fancy penthouse apartment and buys a sports car. Don the horse returns to the city and feigns illness. Chaney feels sorry for him and the two become roommates in the apartment. Don's father dies, but not before impressing upon Don the importance of producing an heir to the 'chosen' line of talking horses. Conveniently, Don meets a beautiful white horse named Satin Doll at the stables soon after and develops a crush on the mare. Inconveniently, Satin Doll is a recent gift from Sawyer to his girlfriend.
Chaney's successes continue, and Sawyer asks his secretary Allison (Madsen) to find out Cheney's secrets. She and Cheney go on an awkward date where a smitten Cheney naively reveals that Don is the source of his investing prowess. She assumes he is being facetious. Cheney insists Don can speak and returns to his apartment with her. Don refuses to talk.
Don throws a wild party at the apartment with several species of animals in attendance; the apartment is damaged. Chaney becomes angry with Don and their relationship begins to sour. After eating delicious oats, Don suggests Chaney buy stock in the company. Despite being upset, Chaney takes Don's advice once again. The stock tip is a bust - the oats are contaminated and Don becomes ill. Sawyer learns of the oat company's impending collapse before Chaney and locks Chaney in the office bathroom before he can unload the doomed stock. Chaney is financially devastated.
Allison learns of Sawyer's actions and quits her job in protest. As she leaves the office, Don speaks to her for the first time. Realizing Chaney was telling the truth about Don, Allison transports the horse to reunite with Chaney. The three work together to get revenge on Sawyer. The plan is to enter Don in a horse race against Sawyer. Chaney goads an arrogant Sawyer into betting his horses against Don. Victory will win Cheney all of Sawyer's prized equines, including Don's love interest Satin Doll. Unable to find an adequate jockey, Don (having entered the race from the "Pepperidge Farm" Stables) will be ridden by an inexperienced Chaney. While having second thoughts the night before the race, Don is visited by his father who has been reincarnated as a horse fly. Despite informing Don that "it sucks" being in his new form, Don's father delivers a rousing pep-talk and Don's confidence is restored.
Don is slow out of the gate. Against all odds, Don miraculously not only catches up to his competitors, but then fast-talks all but one of the other horses into abandoning the race through a series of humorous ruses. The exhausted Don now trails a final challenger named Lord Kensington, the horse of Sawyer. Chaney struggles to motivate Don to overtake the leader. Finally, the promise of getting teeth cosmetically capped spurs extra speed out of Don and he wins in a photo-finish. The judges note that Don stuck his teeth out over the finish line first. Sawyer is humiliated. Don gets Satin Doll while Chaney gets Allison and the film finishes happily.
The original cast for the film included Joan Rivers in Bobcat Goldthwait's role. Elliott Gould was the original voice of the horse. After a poor test screening of the film, the horse's half of the script was rewritten by future Monk creator and executive producer Andy Breckman in an effort to make the film funnier. John Candy was hired to re-record the horse's voice; he ignored the new script and improvised the dialogue instead.
The movie was re-released on VHS in 1998 as part of their "Warner Bros. Hits" collection. It is available on DVD through the Warner Archive program.
In a 2011 interview, Bobcat Goldthwait says he got the script for Hot to Trot and wrote "Why would I do this?" on the cover, to which his manager responded by writing a dollar sign. 
The film was widely panned by critics during its release and was a disappointment at the box office. It was nominated for five Razzie Awards including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Goldthwait), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst New Star (Don the talking horse). Marketing the film, featured newspaper ads advertised promotional 1-800 number, that when called, contained a several minute recorded message from John Candy (as Don the Talking Horse) telling jokes, and talking a bit about the movie. "Hi! I'm Don the Talking Horse! First, how's about a coupla jokes?!"
- Breckman, Andy (1997). "Anatomy of a Bomb". LCD Magazine (WFMU). Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "Hot to Trot [VHS]: Bobcat Goldthwait, Dabney Coleman, John Candy, Virginia Madsen: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-10-13.