"City Slickers" was a sleeper hit from the summer of '91. An unassuming little film than would sneak up on you and tickle your funnybone even on repeat viewings. It also had a warmth that is lacking from most contemporary comedies. Much of the credit for its success hangs on the shoulders of producer/actor Billy Crystal. "City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold" picks up where the first film left off, with Crystal still in the reins, both on camera and off (again as producer and co- writer).
While trying on the hat of his deceased friend Curly, Mitch Robbins (Crystal) discovers what appears to be a treasure map stuck inside the hat's inner lining. For some unspoken reason, he hides this fact from his wife Barbara (Patricia Wettig) and proceeds to organize an expedition with his brother Glen (Jon Lovitz) and longtime friend Phil Berquist (Daniel Stern). He also confides to Phil that he believes he has occasionally seen Curly's ghost. Turns out that who he has seen is actually Curly's long lost twin brother, Duke Washburn (Jack Palance), who knows of the map and would like it for himself.
After setting out on a journey that will last several days the party of three does eventually meet up with Duke who, after some hemming an hawing, agrees to let the boys in on the loot (over $20 million worth of gold bullion) as long as he gets the lion's share. With rock formations and peculiar landscapes leading the way, the party slowly makes its way towards the fortune, battling adversity such as snakes, stampedes of wild horse and a bout with freezing weather. When they finally arrive at the X on the map, their dreams collide with a few familiar but unexpected faces.
In creating a sequel, there's a fine line between trading on a familiar name for profits, and bring back beloved characters because there they still have a story to tell. In creating "City Slickers II" was Crystal aching to further explore the relationships and interaction that made the first film warm and fuzzy, or was he selling out? Personally, I find this one too close to call. The sequel has a number of fun moments and a couple of creative twists, but the whole thing feels like someone trying to coax a second stunt out of a one trick pony.