city-slickers

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city-slickers-review

CITY SLICKERS (1991)

Middle-aged radio ads salesman Mitch and friends Ed and Phil discover that the way to solve their recent bout with mid-life crisis syndrome is to celebate their birthday in style á la the Wild West. In charge of driving cattle from New Mexico to Colorado, meeting cowboy Curly along the way who not only teaches them how to corral cattle properly, but also gives them a taste of the real Western lifestyle the boys are so avidly in search of… or are they?

The cast includes: Billy Crystal, Bruno Kirby, Patricia Wettig, Josh Mostel, Helen Slater, Jack Palance, Tracey Walter, and Daniel Stern.

Jack Palance won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his "City Slickers" performance.

Directed by Ron Underwood.

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action-adventure

"Yesterday They Were Businessmen. Today They're Cowboys. Tomorrow They'll Be Walking Funny."

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In CITY SLICKERS three friends, Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal), Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern), and Ed Furillo (Bruno Kirby), all coping with personal problems, embark on a journey to the Wild West, to partake in a cattle drive in hopes of curing their various depressions - over becoming older and finding the meaning of life, facing a messy divorce, and having mixed feelings over women & marriage. Crystal was about to turn forty, Stern was caught in an affair, and lost everything, and Kirby was having mixed feelings about whether to marry his girlfriend or not.

The always entertaining Billy Crystal, gifted with a terrific sense of humor and delivery, starts the fun when he inadvertently gets off on the wrong foot with Curly (Jack Palance), who brings the true western feel to the film as an old leathery, trail boss cowboy. It would have been nice to have him in just a few more scenes as he left such a vivid impression due to his excellent portrayal of his character, which won Palance the best supporting actor academy award. The combination of Crystal and Palance together add much to the enjoyment of the film. The highlight for me was the birth of a calf, that Mitch helps to bring into the world, acting as a cow midwife, under the direction of Curly.

Then, this cattle drive turns into a grand adventure for all. A series of mishaps happen on this trail ride, indirectly caused by Curly's death from a heart attack. Some of the best scenes were the infamous stampede scenes, the drunken cowboy scene, the river adventure and anything and everything that dealt with these city boys, trying to prove their manhood, by doing the right thing, & by developing their primitive, wilderness survival skills, in order to do so. In the end, they have a better grasp of what that "One Thing" in their lives is, that gives their existence meaning.

The end result is both a moving, and ingenious comedy, melded with an underlying message, that is filled with witty one-liners, and great chemistry amongst all cast members.

Besides the outstanding performances of Billy Crystal and Jack Palance, Daniel Stern, as Phil, nearly steals the show from Crystal with his nearly flawless, comical, dramatic performance, as a man who is unhappy about how his life has turned out, and his personal failings. His unhappiness and anger with himself climaxes in a powerfully touching sequence of scenes, when Stern's character looses it after the drunken cowboys threaten Crystal with a gun, over his calf.

This sparkling comedic, yet poignant screenplay was written by the very talented Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, who teamed together to write such jewels as "League of Their Own," "Parenthood," "City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold" and "Where the Heart Is."

The fine direction was by Ron Underwood, who did a great job intermingling the comedy with the drama, making a thoroughly entertaining funny and touching film.

It's a great film for everyone of all ages, although it is rated PG 13 for some profanity. Overall however, it promises to be an enjoying, fun-filled evening for the family.

If you enjoyed CITY SLICKERS you may like CITY SLICKERS 2: SEARCH FOR CURLY'S GOLD, PARENTHOOD, ANALYZE THIS, WHERE THE HEART IS, THE FAMILY MAN, and DOWN & UNDER.