City Slickers – Collector’s Edition
Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern
Bruno Kirby, Jack Palance
Directed by Ron Underwood
Originally released 1991
MGM Home Entertainment 2008
I had forgotten how good and how much fun City Slickers is until we got the Collector’s Edition DVD. This is a guy movie pretty much the whole family can enjoy. This comedy is also one of very few guy being guys movie that doesn’t show men as idiots. City Slickers features great comic and dramatic performances by Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, and Bruno Kirby and an Oscar winning performance by Jack Palance as the trail boss.
Three childhood friends who always have an annual adventure together sign up to be cowboys in a cattle drive. Just the idea of three New York City boys trying to ride a horse and rope a steer is good comedy but the writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel make it into a real story with characters you like and can identify with.
The movie also works because it has the perfect balance of comedy and drama. Each comic moment leads into a somewhat or very dramatic scene that arcs smoothly into another funny moment. The photography in this movie is right up there with some of the most spectacular scenes in westerns and in some ways City Slickers is a real western.
Ganz and Mandel were also smart enough to think beyond the usual comic western stuff and turn City Slickers into a very rare creature: a guy being guys comedy without lowbrow humor. Mitch, Phil, and Ed have a believable friendship that allows them to speak frankly to one another. During the drive they also realize they each have had a difficult moment they hid from the others no matter how solid the friendship is.
Special features on the City Slickers Collector’s Edition DVD include a commentary track with Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, and director Ron Underwood. It is the first one I have found interesting, informative, and funny in the last three or so years.
Other special features are a couple of deleted scenes, An Ode to Norman, City Slickers Revisited and a segment on the writing of the movie.
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