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‘Let It Ride’ (PG-13)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 19, 1989

Director Joe Pytka brings a background of soft drink, wine cooler and lite beer ads to his feature film debut, "Let It Ride," a racetrack romp with the boozy look of a Michelob night and the plot complexities of a Bartles & Jaymes commercial. He's marginally successful at setting this gambler's fantasy against the Damon Runyonesque aspects of the horsy life.

Richard Dreyfuss, as a gambler named Trotter, promises his wife, Pam (a nag played by Teri Garr), that he's quit playing the ponies, then goes out the very next weekend and bets everything he has, $50, on a sure thing. And wins. Sensing that he can't lose, Trotter lets his winnings ride and ride and ride and ride. He spends all the doo-dah day at the races placing bets and mingling with colorful oddballs.

Dreyfuss, a real Mr. Sparky-Pants, carries the picture -- no easy task when burdened with an oafish, scene-hogging sidekick (David Johansen). Welcome support does comes from Robbie Coltrane, as a lovably cynical ticket seller, and Jennifer Tilly, as a ditzy brunette whose bustline is the movie's most remarkable asset. Will her bosom pop, like a nuclear souffle, from its precarious spandex moorings? Oh well, why beat a dead horse?

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