In what is fast becoming a trend for the summer of '94, mediocre comedies continue to crawl out of the woodwork and choke the neighborhood multiplex. "The Cowboy Way", which finds Woody Harrelson and Kiefer Sutherland playing a couple of rodeo kings slumming in New York City, is a film that is both mindlessly fun and easy to dismiss. It's the kind of film that attains limited prosperity at the box office, but then goes on to become a staple of the cable movie channels, where big hits are too pricey to run as often.
As the story goes, Pepper (Harrelson) and Sonny (Sutherland) are two of New Mexico's finest professional cowboys. Once a team of considerable finesse, they had a falling out over Pepper's no-show at a big competition a year ago. What finally brings them back together is the disappearance of their mutual friend, a Cuban by the name of Nacho (Joaquin Martinez). Nacho strapped on a pistol and made the journey to New York City to find his daughter whose freedom he thought he had bought for $5,000. After several days with no word from him, Sonny felt it was time to take action. Reluctantly (yawn) allowing Pepper to join him, Sonny set offs to start his own investigation into the matter in a town completely foreign to the rustic life he has led.
Upon discovering that they are too late to prevent misfortune, Pepper and Sonny decide to locate Teresa (Cara Buono) themselves. Their opponent in this crusade is a greedy low-life middle-man named Stark (Dylan McDermott), who has grown restless playing second fiddle to an honorable (?) criminal kingpin. Officer Sam Shaw (Ernie Hudson), a cowboy wanna-be, represents our hero's only positive link to the long arm of the law.
The carrying on of Sutherland and Harrelson in New York City is not unlike that of Paul Hogan in "Crocodile Dundee". With their simplistic, farm boy ways they are able to outsmart the craftiest of big city socialites. In fact "The Cowboy Way" is very much what an adult remake of "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" would be like. Instead of a rosy-cheeked youngster outwitting nearly everyone in sight, we are presented with a pair of heart-throb brat-packers outwitting nearly everyone in sight.
Sutherland and Harrelson do possess a generous amount of charm and it is easy to see why the ladies in both New Mexico and New York are drawn to them. But who in their right mind would believe that an NYC cop would be allowed to keep his badge if he allowed a couple of rednecks to participate in what should be a police matter, using their own guns no less? This kind of idiocy keeps "The Cowboy Way" from entering the ranks of the good comedy.