A quick tip care of "Happy, Texas". If you’re chained to a convicted murderer who’s built like a brick shithouse, never use road kill to hit him in the head. It general causes problems - not to mention the mess. The Premise – two escaped convicts (Steve Zahn & Jeremy Northam) are mistaken for Gay Beauty Pageant Organisers in a small Texas town called Happy. The prospect of being paid to ogle at Beauty Pageant Contestants seems more than worth the Gay facade. But there’s always a catch isn’t there. The contestants are Jon Benet wannabe’s.Zahn brings to life Texan redneck, "fights like a girl", Wayne Wayne Wayne Junior. Of the two convicts Wayne Wayne Wayne Junior being the stupider one, gets stuck teaching the pre-teen girls to dance and smile Donny and Marie. Needless to the say Wayne Wayne Wayne Junior is rhythmically challenged, he’s got a bad case of dance dyslexia. Zahn, of "Out of Sight" and "Reality Bites", steals the picture finding a rhythm all his own. The role won him the Sundance Special Jury Prize for best comic performance.
Jeremy Northam (Mr Knightley in "Emma") plays the handsomer convict and the object of everybody’s affections. Ally Walker (From crap "Profiler") plays Northam’s fag hag and confused love interest. William H. Macy out does himself as love smitten Sheriff Chappy Dent. Macy’s filmography reads like the Menu at Maxims and doesn’t let us down with another subtle and bitter sweet performance.
"Happy, Texas" was the Comic and Financial hit of Sundance 1999. It sparked a bidding frenzy between the majors and the mini-studio Miramax, which won out for a rumoured ten million dollar plus deal. "Happy" was made on a shoestring compared to the Hollywood standard, the deal ensured the filmmakers a large profit no matter the box office outcome.Although a solid directorial debut for Mark Illsley, visually he directs for television – nothing to write home about. But as Robert Altman says 80% of filmmaking is casting and Illsley has pulled out the big guns of traditionally supporting actors. Macy is phenomenal as the "Big Dick" gay Sheriff. "Absolutely Fabulous" fans will recognise Mo Gaffney as a horny, big haired yokel. Illeana Douglas plays dump school teacher like a natural. With a few minor exceptions, Illsley and Joe Garcia’s casting is inspired. "Happy, Texas" is a mean comedy and reminds us that no matter what your gender, class or sexuality is - there’s a Dancing Queen in all of us. (Atlanta Treloar--filmnet.org.au)