Tuesday, April 29, 2014
City Slickers (Ron Underwood, 1991) Review
Mitch (Billy Crystal) is a middle aged New Yorker who winds up having a mid-life crisis along with his best friends Phil (Daniel Stern) and Ed (Bruno Kirby). Ed and Phil decide to give Mitch a two week holiday driving cattle. The three meet a cowboy named Curly (Jack Palance) who teaches them not only how to make good cattle drivers but also important life lessons.
I was pleasantly surprised with City Slickers. I will admit that my only real experience of Billy Crystal is Monsters Inc. and Howl's Moving Castle (excluding the Oscars) so this was a good film to see him at his best. City Slicker's sense of humour is very witty and relies on deadpan remarks that Billy Crystal naturally delivers perfectly. It's his movie and steals the scene. The co-stars also do a great job. Jack Palance won himself an Oscar for his performance and, while I can't say he was amazingly deserving of it, he still delivers a strong performance coupled with strong writing. Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby also deliver great performances.
What surprised me most was actually how it's more than just a silly comedy. It gets surprisingly suspenseful at times and gets pretty deep too. Considering that part of the plot dabbles in the secret of life, that's to be expected. The writing helps pull this through and proves that comedy films are allowed to get meaningful and sentimental. The rest of the characters seem kind of irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The main characters are Mitch, Phil, Ed and Curly so no-one else really matters to the plot.
City Slickers is a satisfying feel good comedy. Billy Crystal nails the deadpan comedy that the script provides. The co-stars also do a good job even if Jack Palance's performance isn't exactly Oscar worthy. It mean, it's good but...Tommy Lee Jones or Ben Kingsley didn't do as good that year? It's more the writing that holds the film up, not necessarily the actors. Join me next time where I take a look a film that is often dubbed one of the best films ever...I doubt it...
A well-written, feel good comedy which is brought to life by it's strong cast.