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CITY SLICKERS - How About Some Laughs?



Yes, even this reviewer runs out of gas when it comes to the state of the world, and whenever Yours truly gets there, it is time to watch and review COMEDY.

First up? City Slickers, the 1991 offering from Ron Underwood.

Unless you were a resident of a Black Ops site, and receiving daily waterboarding treatments in the early 90s, you saw City Slickers. The film, a tale of the mid-life crisis of a Manhattan Yuppie (Billy Crystal as Mitch Robbins) is funny from the first frame of film.

Yes, that's how old the movie is. It was shot on 35mm.

City Slickers opens at 5:16am in an apartment on Roosevelt Island, an outpost on the eastern side of Manhattan. Mitch receives a call from his mother, who, right on cue, phones EXACTLY at the moment of Mitch's birth. She takes him through the process ("And right at 5:16am . . . out you came!).

In the early 90s, a gondola was the only possible way to access and leave Roosevelt Island. This single car tram deposited residents at 59th Street and 1st Avenue. Queens was accessible via car and bus, but that was the ultimate indirect method of travel.

After the open, which tips the trope of Mitch Robbin's mid-life depression, he takes the gondola and spends the trip staring up at the very bald commuter in front of him.

His birth day just gets worse. His boss (the always funny Jeffrey Tambor) demotes him; he delivers a talk to his son's (Jake Gyllenhaal!) 5th grade class which deteriorates into a remorseful lament on the rapid passage of time; and his party crashes when friend, Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern), gets outed as a philanderer.

Thank God for his wife, Barbara, the vastly under-appreciated Patricia Wettig. She snaps, "Gooooooood party!" during the clean-up. Mrs. Robbins INSISTS Mitch accept his other good friend's (Bruno Kirby [sigh] as sporting goods store owner, Ed Furillo) birthday present.

Which is two weeks driving cattle from New Mexico to Colorado.

No, not in a truck.

On horseback.

With real cows.

And real cowboys.

Mitch, Ed, and Phil go. They are met by a Who's Who of 90s comedy character actors; Jack Palance (Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor), Josh Mostel, David Paymer, Kyle Secor, Phill Lewis, Bill Henderson (Yes. I know he's a jazz musician.), and Helen Slater.

And off they go to Colorado, cattle in tow.

On the way, there are a few corpses, a broken leg, a barroom brawl without the bar, a birth, a death, a deluge of Biblical proportions, a few rescues both physical and spiritual, a new romance, and enough epiphanies to fill a liturgical calendar.

City Slickers is a classic.

Most important? It holds up well, and is funny to this day.

And good God, do we need that.

Pluto TV














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