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A young Texas farmer comes to Houston to work in a refinery and learns about life by hanging out at Gilley's, a roadhouse bar. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: PG Release Date: 8-OCT-2002 Media Type: DVD
John Travolta traded in disco duds for a cowboy hat in this corny love story about a working man who breaks up with his girlfriend Debra Winger, then plays out their relationship's turmoil inside a huge honky-tonk called Gilley's. The story essentially parallels Travolta's prior hit film, Saturday Night Fever, in its blend of ordinary life, incomplete relationships, and personal pride channeled into niche stardom at a neighborhood club. But for all its regional flavor, Urban Cowboy never enjoys the immediacy and urgency of Fever, and after awhile you can't help but feel bemused by the macho silliness of ongoing "mechanical bull" competitions basically a faux rodeo device only brave men can master at great chiropractic risk. The Travolta-Winger relationship is pure soap, as well. But this film really is a kind of time-capsule piece on a lot of levels--notably Travolta's career and late '70s Western kitsch--and while it's silly, it's certainly not disagreeable. --Tom Keogh