Owen Gleiberman
June 21, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

City Slickers

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
112 minutes
performer
Billy Crystal, Jack Palance, Bruno Kirby, Josh Mostel, Helen Slater, Yeardley Smith, Daniel Stern, Patricia Wettig
director
Ron Underwood
distributor
Columbia Pictures
author
Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
genre
Comedy, Western

We gave it an A-

In this hilarious Western comedy, three New Yorkers, played by Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, and Bruno Kirby, attempt to fend off mid-life crisis by taking a vacation at a Southwestern dude ranch, where they ride horses, sing campfire ditties under the desert moon, and join a cattle drive, herding 200 steers from New Mexico to Colorado. The fun of the movie is that it sees both the absurdity and the flaky glory of their crusade. Many of the giddiest jokes are cynical urban deflations of the Western mystique-and Crystal, in the first movie role to do him justice, gets off some of the zestiest one-liners since Bob Hope took the road to Rio. As City Slickers goes on, though, the movie slyly undercuts its own joke. The horseback journey to Colorado becomes a surreal odyssey of yuppie escapism, a case of three overly civilized men leaping into the middle of their own pop fantasy.

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