Movie review: 'Cowgirls' stampedes through cliches

Published May 25, 2012 7:42 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The problem with "Cowgirls 'n' Angels" isn't the cornpone dialogue, like this: "What's the difference between cowgirls and angels? Angels don't ride as good." The problem is that the line is repeated three times — just as every other plot point and emotional beat is driven into the ground with repetition.

Ida Clanton (Bailie Madison, the kid from "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark") is a 12-year-old Oklahoma latchkey kid, left to her own devices by her overworked single mom (Alicia Witt). One day, she comes across a rodeo and becomes a fan of the female trick-riding troupe Sweethearts of the Rodeo.

Forging Mom's signature on a permission slip, Ida persuades the group's crotchety founder, rodeo legend Terence Parker (James Cromwell), and Terence's daughter Rebecca (Kathleen Rose Perkins) to let her join the Sweethearts on tour. Ida's not-so-secret mission: To find her father, a rodeo cowboy who abandoned Mom before Ida was born.

Director/co-writer Timothy Armstrong pads out Ida's coming-of-age story with hackneyed subplots, involving Terence's declining health and a young cowboy ("Twilight's" Jackson Rathbone) pursuing a troubled Sweetheart (Madison Burge), and telegraphs every emotional moment with a schmaltzy country-western song. —


'Cowgirls 'n' Angels'

Opens Friday, May 25, at area theaters; rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief language; 92 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.