City Slickers

City Slickers
City Slickers.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byRon Underwood
Produced byIrby Smith
Written byLowell Ganz
Babaloo Mandel
Starring
Music byMarc Shaiman
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byO. Nicholas Brown
Production
company
Castle Rock Entertainment
Face Productions
Nelson Entertainment
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 7, 1991 (1991-06-07)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$26 million[1]
Box office$180 million[2]

City Slickers is a 1991 American western comedy film, directed by Ron Underwood and starring Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, and Jack Palance, with supporting roles by Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater, and Noble Willingham.

The film's screenplay was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, and it was shot in New York City; New Mexico; Durango, Colorado; and Spain. A sequel City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold was released in 1994, with the same cast, with the exception of Kirby, who was replaced by Jon Lovitz.

Plot

In Pamplona, Spain, Mitch Robbins, a radio advertisement executive, participates in the annual San Fermín festival, along with friends Ed Furillo and Phil Berquist. Back in New York City, Mitch has turned 39 years old and realizes his trips are to escape the reality of going through a midlife crisis. Phil and Ed have problems of their own: Phil is trapped in a 12-year loveless marriage to his shrewish wife, Arlene; and Ed is a successful sporting goods salesman and playboy who has recently married an underwear model but is reluctant to settle down and have children.

At Mitch's birthday party, Phil and Ed present a gift of a two-week cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado. Phil is confronted by a co-worker, Nancy, who accidentally reveals a pregnancy and thus her affair with Phil, which leads to his separation from Arlene. Despite Mitch's plans to go to Florida with his wife Barbara to visit her parents, Barbara makes him go instead with his friends and find some purpose before he contemplates adultery or suicide. In New Mexico, Mitch, Phil and Ed meet the ranch owner, Clay Stone, and their fellow drivers: Barry and Ira Shalowitz, a comical pair of ice cream entrepreneur brothers, Bonnie, a young beauty with a recent romantic break-up, and Ben and Steve Jessup, a father and son. Mitch develops a rift with the ranch's professional abusive cowboys, Jeff and T.R., when they harass Bonnie. The standoff is stopped by the trail boss, Curly, who inadvertently humiliates Mitch in front of his friends.

During the drive, as Mitch, Phil and Ed begin to change their outlook on life, Mitch accidentally causes a stampede which wrecks most of the camp. In retribution, Curly orders him to help gather the lost cows, but over time, the two develop a bond when Mitch learns that Curly, despite his tough exterior, is actually a very wise and heartfelt man. Curly advises Mitch to discover the "one thing" in his life which is the most important to him, which will solve all of his problems. Along the way, Mitch helps deliver a calf from a dying cow, which Curly kills out of mercy. Mitch adopts the calf and names him Norman. After this, everyone has a small communion meal.

Curly suddenly dies of a heart attack, leaving the drive under Jeff and T.R.. Trouble begins when the cook, Cookie, gets drunk and accidentally destroys their food supply, breaking his leg in the process. After the Jessups volunteer to take him back to the ranch, Jeff and T.R. intoxicate themselves with Cookie's hidden stash. A fight ensues when they threaten to kill Norman and assault Mitch. Phil and Ed intervene and a fight ensues which culminates when Phil holds Jeff and T.R. at gunpoint and unleashes a withheld stress on them. Jeff and T.R. abandon them to avoid reprisals from Clay Stone. Though Bonnie tries to assist the cattle, the Shalowitzes decide to leave the herd to seek out civilization. Ed, with Phil's assistance, decides to remain behind and try to finish the drive. Mitch, at first adamant in leaving them on their own, has a change of heart and joins them while the others continue to Colorado.

After braving a heavy storm, they finally manage to drive the herd to Colorado, but Norman gets stuck in the river. Mitch saves him but they are both swept away with the current. Phil and Ed only barely manage to save them both and finally overcome their crises while resting on the bank. They reach Clay Stone's ranch in Colorado shortly afterwards. Clay Stone offers to reimburse everyone's money for their troubles, but when the Jessups ask instead for another chance to drive the cattle again Clay reveals that he is selling the herd to a meat company. Despite the fact that they initially believe that they saved the cattle for nothing, Mitch, Phil and Ed decide to rebuild their lives, and Mitch purchases Norman from Clay Stone to save him from slaughter.

When the two weeks are up, Mitch returns to New York City with Phil and Ed as a happier man, and reunites with his wife Barbara and his children while bringing Norman home for a few days until he can be placed in a petting zoo. Phil begins a relationship with Bonnie, and Ed becomes open to the idea of having children. Mitch drives the freeway, ready to start life with a new vision.