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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 75 - City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (1994)

City Slickers 2 is the Hangover: Part II of the 90’s.  It is the same as its source film, identical in almost every way, with no original ideas and it doesn't appear that they even tried to have any.  Sequels are supposedly meant to expound on the ideas of the original and up the ante with more at stake for the characters in the story, however, it seems a more common reason for sequels is simply because the first film made money and the studios want to cash in.

The film opens right after the death of Curly (Jack Palance), the eccentric guide from the first film.  Billy Crystal plays Mitch, who is just turning 40, when he discovers a map to a hidden treasure.  The three characters (played by Crystal, Daniel Stern and Jon Lovitz) join together again for a desert adventure and tell the very same jokes that were nailed home in the first film all while following very similar plot points.  Throughout the film, Mitch is haunted by the thought that Curly may not have been dead and keeps seeing visions of the dead guide.  However,it turns out that these are not hauntings or hallucinations but Curly's twin brother, Duke (Ooooh! The contrivances!!!). The only problem is Duke (played by Jack Palance) is not as much of an "outdoorsy" guy as Curly, so hilarity (or a lack thereof) ensues!  Billy Crystal lays out one dry one-liner after another, Daniel Stern shouts, whines and complains through the film, and Jon Lovitz annoys both of the characters on-screen and us thoroughly.

The actors do what they can, trying to breath life into these vapid, empty characters, but there isn’t much that can be done with this dialogue.  Directorially, this film is nothing special.  It fails to really take advantage the natural beauty of the setting, mainly focusing on the actor’s faces as they talk.  Films like the Searchers from 1956 prove that the Old West can be beautiful when shot correctly.  However, despite the film’s visual weakness, the screenplay is really to blame with this one.  While the first one was no great masterpiece, but it had laughs.  The sequel, however, is a special type of bad film.  The jokes do not appear to even try, centering on overused cliches and uninspired banter between the characters.  

Going back to the Hangover sequel reference to close, some films are best described as cynical.  That meaning that the filmmakers and cast are really just out to cash a check for the success of the first film.  The problem with these movies is how deceptive they are.  They are designed to trick fans of the first and draw them in, only to sell them a bill of goods in the end.  This is truly infuriating because it shows just what many in Hollywood think of their customers.  This film makes the 75 spot solely based on how it obviously feels about the audience.  It is a perfect example of why fans of movies should research a film before giving it their hard-earned money.  It's a good thing audiences pretty much ignored this movie, if they had paid money for it, there may have been a City Slickers 3!

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