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City Slickers
1991 - PG-13 - 112 Mins.
Director: Ron Underwood
Producer: Irby Smith, Billy Crystal
Written By: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
Starring: Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater
Review by: John Ulmer
   
"City Slickers" is a character-driven story, told with extreme charisma and truly funny, yet deep characters. It tells the tale of a man going through a mid-life crisis and how he deals with himself.

Billy Crystal is Mitch, the guy going through a depressing point in his life. Daniel Stern is his best buddy Phil, a worrywart who is owned by his wife. And Bruno Kirby is Ed, his other best friend who has a lust for younger women, and a lust for outrageous and crazy adventures. Such as the bull run in the beginning of the film, or his idea for a skydive.

Mitch starts to suffer greatly with his newfound mid-life crisis. Phil is caught having an affair with a grocery store clerk by his wife. Ed is...well...Ed. So on Mitch's 39th birthday, Ed and Phil reveal that they have bought Mitch a spot on a cattle run, and they're coming along, too. They'll be driving cattle just like real cowboys.

Mitch is unimpressed, but his wife insists he go to relieve stress. Mitch tries to get out of it by reminding her of his promise. "I told you I was going to stay with your parents," he says. "You hate my parents," she says.

So off Mitch, Phil and Ed go, out to a cattle ranch where they meet Curly (Jack Palance), a homicidal cowboy who freaks Mitch out. Laughter ensues. And after that, more laughter.

The cattle drive begins, and eventually things go hay-wire. Curly dies. The two other drunk leaders flee for their lives. Mitch, Phil and Ed are left with two fat ice cream inventors (a la Ben & Jerry), and an attractive woman who Mitch cannot get near because he is married. She says hello to him. "I'm married," he replies.

I watched some of "City Slickers" about four years ago and wasn't too impressed. Perhaps it was because the TV version cut everything out. This time around I absolutely adored it, it is truly one of the best comedies of the last ten (now fifteen) years.

Billy Crystal is perfect as Mitch. I love his demeanor towards life, his grim outlook on things. Like the speech he gives to children in a kindergarten class. Priceless.

The entire cast is excellent, and only the last ten minutes of the film fell apart a bit, in which you get a quite typical "I'm over it, I'm a hero" moment where Mitch comes to terms with himself and almost drowns saving a calf, which makes him look more like a suicidal idiot rather than someone coming to terms with himself.

But the rest of the film is 100% excellent; funny is an understatement. The characters seem very real, something rare for a comedy these days. "City Slickers" is definitely one to see. If you still don't want to, I can only say one thing: "Helloooooo?!"
 
Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

 
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