A depressed Manhattan yuppie is roped into joining his best friends on
a cattle drive in New Mexico to shake things up and do something fun.
City Slickers (1991)
Directed by Ron Underwood
Written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel
Starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Jack Palance, Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, Tracey Walter, Josh Mostel,
David Paymer, Bill Henderson, Phil Lewis, Kyle Secor, Dean Hallo
Oscar Wins - Best Supporting Actor (Jack Palance)
City Slickers was a cute movie, definitely worth a few laughs. It wasn't anything special, unfortunately, as a great deal of the jokes didn't land. Jack Palance's Oscar winning performance amounted to barely any screen-time or dialogue and Billy Crystal works much better as a side character than a leading man. On the whole, there really isn't much about City Slickers that makes it worth remembering. Hell, the funniest guy in the film is Daniel Stern and that's only because he's so depressed and full of self-loathing. I guess if you look at the film as a soul-searching dramedy, it works much better.
I was mostly disappointed by how little Jack Palance was in this movie. His role in this film was not worth an Academy Award in the slightest. The Academy only gave it to him because he was old Hollywood and hadn't won one yet. The film's joke supply relies entirely on the "fish out of water" concept, instead of actually writing something witty and clever. It's always "Look, the city guys can't ride horses" or something along those lines. Don't get me wrong, jokes like that are good for a few chuckles, but they should never be your main source of entertainment.
I've always liked Billy Crystal, but his brand of comedy works more when he's the funny sidekick like in Monsters Inc. or The Princess Bride. All of his dialogue was either a hard, depressing truth about life or a half-funny one-liner that didn't quite land. In the right hands, this film could've been really funny, but it doesn't measure up. I'm sure its gathered somewhat of a cult following by now, so its got an audience. I'm just not a part of it.