Happy, Texas

"OK"

Happy, Texas Review


"Happy, Texas" wins this years award for dumbest plot in an enjoyable movie.

A ridiculous yarn about two escaped cons posing as gay beauty pageant directors while they hole up in a small town, most of the comedy here is barely above sketch caliber, but the movie's fantastic cast takes it to another level.

Steve Zahn (the dimwit stoner in "Out of Sight") and Jeremy Northam (from "An Ideal Husband" and "The Winslow Boy," but sounding all-American here) star as the convicts, who escape a west Texas chain gang and hijack an RV that, unbeknownst to them, belongs to the real gay pageant directors.

They're pulled over by the Happy, Texas sheriff (William H. Macy) who doesn't haul them in -- which is what they expected -- but drags them into town saying everyone has been looking for them.

Rifling through the RV, they soon figure out who the town thinks they are -- a twinkle-toed couple, come to Happy to see to it the town's little girls qualify for the Little Miss Freshly Squeezed competition -- something the darlings have failed to do many years running.

Zahn' stock in trade is playing the affable dunce with a 5th grade education, and the movie is kept afloat by his unhinged performance that makes every minute he's on screen twice as funny as it logically should be. Refusing to play gay in the early going, by the end he's embraced at least the pageant director facade, staying up all night sewing the girls' costumes, inventing clumsily choreographed production numbers and complaining to Northam like a neglected wife. Meanwhile, he can't quite keep his heterosexuality in check and has started getting some on the sneak with the contestants' sugar, spice and apple pie schoolteacher (Illeana Douglas).

Northam's character does a better job of playing his assumed role, going as far as to go on a country-swing dance date with the sheriff, who stumbles out of the closet when he thinks the pageant boys' relationship is on the rocks.

The mustachioed Macy takes just the right tone playing the sheriff everyone calls Chappy as a bit of a bumbler who is, nonetheless, the movie's most sympathetic character.

Northam finds himself playing both sides of the sexual equation when he becomes "girlfriends" with the gal who runs the local bank (Ally Walker), mostly because he's planning a heist and hopes to glean information that will make it easier. Of course, in the process he falls in love with her.

With two brilliant performances in drawing room melodramas already under his belt this year, Northam clearly enjoys playing his character's modern, criminal charm. But he does it without overshadowing the zany Zahn, whose badly feathered mane and biker dude facial hair only help to cut a more comedic figure.

Sublime supporting players Macy ("Mystery Men," "Fargo") and Douglas ("Grace of My Heart," "To Die For") give notable flesh to roles that could have been tossed off on lesser actors, and it's thanks to these two and Walker (late of TV's "Profiler") that "Happy, Texas" is more than just a middling comedy with two great leads.

In the last act, another escaped con, introduced in the opening scene only so he can show up later and blow our heroes' cover, forces a climax that exposes much of the screenplay's sadly gimmicky plotting. But by that time co-writer and director Mark Illsey has consumed the audience in the dumb fun of his matinee fodder movie.

"Happy, Texas" is endlessly funny, even if many of the laughs are predictable and predicated on its bungled stew of story elements lifted from such sorry sources as "Fled," "Three's Company" and "To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar."



Happy, Texas

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd December 1999

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Marked Entertainment, Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr., William H. Macy as Sheriff Chappy Dent, as Harry Sawyer, as Josephine 'Joe' McClintock, as Marshal Nalhober

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.