One of the great western-comedies that gives a little bit of everything including tons of laughs.
“CITY SLICKERS” stars Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and the late Bruno Kirby as three middle-aged men all dealing with their own mid-life crises that decide to spend two weeks on a cattle drive, living off the land, sleeping under the stars and escorting a herd of cows from New Mexico to Colorado on horseback.
I recently watched this one after having not seen it for many years. I remembered it from my childhood as being a fun, comedy filled adventure that was filled with likable characters, a wide range of comedic deliveries, and truly feeling like a lighthearted film that you can watch over and over. Watching it again after all these years it was fun to see this movie still holds its comedic value and to an adult viewer, gives a completely different story-angle.
I am virtually the same age as the main characters in this movie and while I may not be having my own mid-life crises, I found it very easy to relate to these characters, the contemplation of their lives, and the worries of if their best days are behind them, and where there life will go in the future. Naturally these were all things I failed to notice as a kid and sure the comedy still entertains, but I found this plot very relatable. This angle of the story was well written and adds much more substance to the laughs that fill the bulk of the script.
The cast performances were all excellent as well. Billy Crystal was solid in the lead although I do feel Daniel Stern and Jack Palance steal the show. Crystal was able to carry the bulk of the comedic weight, while he may hot have had some of the more memorable moments. Stern was hilarious as he reached his breaking point on a couple of occasions and whether you are young or old, his meltdowns are highly amusing. I also really enjoyed the performance of the late Jack Palance, I wished he would have had more screen-time but the scenes he did have were comical, and commanded attention. He was perfectly cast for the role and shared an excellent chemistry with the rest of the cast.
It is still comical to watch Palance live the life of the last true cowboy and the reactions from the common people taking the cattle drive. In particular his back-and-forth’s with Crystal that still rouse laughter from their smooth balance and entertaining delivery of the comical dialogue. The rest of the cast were also solid in this film and despite the little screen-time they had their individual moments and add to the mix in keeping the pace of this story-line moving as swiftly as it does.
The comedy comes from a variety of angles and it keeps the laughs fresh. There are doses of simple humor, one-liners, physical and situational comedy and for the most part none of it feel overly forced. The result of this script is a genuinely funny film that can be enjoyed by most ages.
This film was released in the summer of 1991 and was the 10th highest grossing film of the year. Jack Palance won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and while the sequel may not have lived up to the hype, this film still holds its relevance in telling a story people can connect with and find amusing. If you are in the mood for a feel-good film that is enjoyable from start-to-finish, then push this classic film to the top of your watch-list immediately.
– Starring –
Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Jack Palance, Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, Noble Willingham, David Paymer, Josh Mostel, Phill Lewis
– Directed By –
Time: 113 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For strong language, some violence and sexual references)