Picks and Pans Review: City Slickers Ii: the Legend of Curly's Gold

updated 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Jack Palance, Jon Lovitz, Patricia Wettig

Okay, let's just come right out and be sexist about it: Billy Crystal looks a whole lot belter with his shirt off than you ever would have thought. He's downright buff. Well, as buff as a basically scrawny guy can get.

And that, folks, is the biggest surprise in store for viewers of this amiable but excessively hardworking sequel to 1991's City Slickers. Palance is back, as the evil twin brother of the crusty old character he played so craftily in the original. But if the first rule of comedy is to never let 'em see you sweat, this movie, with its relentless commitment to its urbanites-out-West-hunting-for-hidden-treasure plot, is distressingly damp. One is also a little taken aback by the preponderance of bedroom and bathroom jokes, such as when Crystal, in the throes of lust, peeks downward at himself and announces to his wife (Wettig), "Oh, look, the little man wants to go to the parade." Isn't Crystal better than this?

Which is not to say that there aren't some good lines and amusing scenes here. The problem is that they're trying too hard. You keep wishing, as the plot plods along, that the movie would relax, be a little wackier and do more with such assets as Lovitz—who is at his stentorian, self-pitying best as Crystal's do-nothing brother with a passion for reciting scenes from The Godfather.

Big bonus: the scenery. The movie was shot in Moab, Utah, the site of so many classic John Ford westerns. Book those canyon-lour tickets now. (PG-13)

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