Urban Cowboy

-

Urban Cowboy

Really just a routine love story and John Travolta-vehicle-cum-pop-sociology docudrama (it was based on a Rolling Stone article about young, prosperous Texans riding the oil boom of the late 1970s), Urban Cowboy scarcely had a reason to exist in 1980, and in 1997 it just seems anachronistic. Pretty, dimwitted Travolta and Debra Winger meet at real-life roadhouse Gilley's, marry after a whirlwind courtship, and settle down in their mobile home. Winger's desire to mount the mechanical bull at Gilley's—coupled with her attraction to rodeo-riding ex-con Scott Glenn—drives cartoonishly macho Travolta into fits of jealousy, and the two soon separate. The remainder of the film juxtaposes Winger's attempts to win back Travolta with Travolta's own romance with a rich city girl (Madolyn Smith), as well as his obsession with mastering the mechanical bull. The utter seriousness with which the slight premise and simplistic characters are treated often produces some laughable moments, and the slick, bland, country-lite soundtrack, which went on to plague country and pop radio for years, bears the ravages of time. Unapologetically trashy, Urban Cowboy is a virtual pageant of high redneck style—there are lots of bootleg trousers, halter tops, shag haircuts, and feather-brimmed Stetsons—and Winger is fun as the unapologetically trashy gal who just wants to bag herself a real cowboy. Unfortunately, Urban Cowboy is dull one time too often to qualify as entertaining kitsch.

More DVD Review