Director Joe Pytka
Producer David Giler
Cinematography Curtis Wehr
Music Giorgio Moroder
Editor Dede Allen, Jim Miller
Based On Good Vibes by Jay Cronley
Genre Action, Comedy
Running Time 90 min
Country United States
Actor Movie Character
Richard Dreyfuss Jay Trotter
David Johansen Looney
Teri Garr Pam Trotter
Jennifer Tilly Vicki
Allen Garfield Greenberg
Robbie Coltrane Ticket Seller
Michelle Phillips Mrs. Davis
Cynthia Nixon Evangeline
Ralph Seymour Sid
Richard Edson Johnny Casino
Trevor Denman Race Track Announcer
Edward Walsh Marty (as Ed Walsh)
Cab driver Jay Trotter (Richard Dreyfuss) and his divorced wife Pam (Teri Garr) are trying to salvage their marriage. During one of his nightshifts, his fellow cabbie Looney (David Johansen) uses his secret microphone to record the passengers’ private conversations.
He later plays back a conversation between two men talking about an upcoming crooked horse race. Horse number 4 was scheduled to win. Despite gambling heavily indebting, Trotter and even jeopardizing his marriage, he finds the tip irresistible.
He and his friend Looney head to the track and the former places a $50 bet on the horse. His mocking friend Looney bets on another horse. Trotter prays to God in a barroom stall for the horse to win.
Fortunately, Trotter’s pick wins the race and he earns $710 in return. A confidence-filled Trotter approaches two men from Looney’s cab ride who later give him yet another tip leading to a stunning $2450 win. He is mistakenly arrested, but his arrest is a blessing in disguise. It saves him from staking on a horse that eventually lost.
Trotter is later released and his winning streak resumes. At the race Club, he meets wealthy gambling addicts and vixens clinging to them. Trotter becomes a hero to many, even the ticket seller goes ahead and hires a track security guard to protect him.
However, Trotter’s persistent gambling does not go well with his raging wife who confronts him. He calms her down by telling her of his hot winning streak on the day. He later decides to take a survey of the patrons’ choice. Trotter then eliminates their choices and later bets on the remaining horse. Even his mysterious formula yields and Trotter finally heads home with a gift to his intoxicated wife.
He later heads back to the track where he meets Vicki (Jennifer Tilly). She tries to seduce him but he pledges loyalty to his marriage. Trotter makes a last bet from all his day’s winnings. His friend Looney differs heavily with his choice. The highly contested race attracts everyone’s attention. Pam shows up in awe of her husband’s gift. She later joins in the celebrations when his husband’s horse choice eventually wins.
Based on the Good Vibes by Jay Cronley, the script is true to the novel, but the ending is slightly shifted. The director brings a racetrack background with a nightclub imitation to clearly set out his interesting plot. Despite this being his debut film, he successfully portrays a gambler’s fantasy in a realistic way. The plot is fantastic and fast paced.
The casting was brilliant. Trotter being on the lead has just promised his wife that he has quit gambling. It is on the very same weekend that he plays the ponies again. Despite being on the losing side more often, this time he seems more assured. His last chance proves to be his luckiest one.
Looney, being Trotter’s best friend, is great at his “unlucky one” role. Despite being the one who gets the tips first, he follows his own instincts. Pam Trotter plays the unhappy nagging wife. She is never a supporter of her husband’s gambling behavior, but in the end she joins in the celebrations.
The rest of the cast is hilarious in maintaining the funny nature of the film. Robbie Coltrane is a cynical ticket seller; Vicki is a lightheaded lady ready to burst into success. Evangeline (Cynthia Nixon) is a young 19-year old accustomed to gambling life.
The film features a typical 80’s soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder. The attractive rock music lyrics at the start of the film, grace the title of the movie. However, the film is R rated, revels in vulgar language, and sexuality.
Despite that, the film stands out as a classic comedy. It is worth a watch for any fan of an all-rounded movie. A rating of 6.8 out of 10 is due credit to the debutant producer who certainly had more in store, having produced the likes of the sequel Aliens and Undisputed in the years the years that followed.