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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.67%
Worth A Look43.33%
Average: 11.67%
Pretty Bad: 13.33%
Total Crap: 20%

7 reviews, 18 user ratings

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Happy, Texas
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by Greg Muskewitz

"People at Sundance are on crack."
1 stars

"Happy, Texas," was one of those films that had a lot of buzz around it when it premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and was picked up by Miramax for an unprecedented two-million dollars. Like "The Blair Witch Project," which also premiered with enthusiasm at the same festival, either I am missing something, or it must have just been a lot of fun in the sun, to be able create buzz around a small film(s) upon an initial premiere, but then not able to sustain any of the elements of a good movie --buzz aside.

Mark Illsley makes his directorial debut, and co-writes the screenplay with Ed Stone and Phil Reeves, and centers the story around two buffoons who have just escaped from prison. Harry Sawyer (Jeremy Northam) and Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr. (Steve Zahn), upon their getaway, steal a Winnebago which breaks down in the outskirts of Happy, Texas. They discover that the piece of garbage vehicle belonged to a pair of homosexuals who create costumes and produce beauty pageants. But before they can ditch the R/V, they're found by Chappy Dent (William H. Macy), sheriff of Happy. So to elude the authorities, they decide, with much deliberation, to pose as the gay couple until everything blows over.
Harry takes the part of dealing with Jo McClintock (Ally Walker), president of the bank, of which they are promised $1000 for their work on the pageant --$500 upfront, $500 after. His eventual plan is to rob the bank, and make off with all the money. But that serves as a conflict when he starts to find himself falling for Ally, but even more so when he can't let up his gay charade. Wayne on the other hand, very spastic, very caffinated, very boiled, very overdone, is left with the job of working with Miss Schaefer (Illeana Douglas) to choreograph the dance for the Little Miss Squeezed Pageant. Of course he's going to go nuts working with the brats, and more trouble ensues when the sheriff begins to fawn after Harry, and one of the other escaped criminals (yes, a third) surprises the two with an unwelcome visit.
"Happy, Texas" is an insipidly crude movie (people are bashed over the head with armadillos, as they guts splat all over the person's head), faulted in it's lacking script, amateur direction, no structure, and below-average acting. Douglas and Walker, and to a certain extent, Northam are amusing, and make the movie enough not to walk out on, but Steve Zahn, who received so jury award at Sundance, comes off as a skinny version of Chris Farely when he's about to explode. Zahn, although delivering his lines, practically kept his lips still the entire time, mumbling out inaudible dialogue. Even Macy was annoying as this character.
The script lacked any development, and what little they had was completely oblivious to us way before it happened. Like we were really supposed to come out of the movie believing that these dopes had actually looked into their feminine sides to realize anything. They didn't even care about the danger the children were put in.

Final Verdict: D-

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 11/16/99 19:27:20
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User Comments

7/05/18 Suzanne I Just love this movie - always makes me happy. 5 stars
6/05/06 William Goss Works on its own modest terms. Predictable, but not pandering. 3 stars
11/08/05 DAve Blandford VERY VERY funny flick 5 stars
12/18/03 Andrea from Hungary Ally Walker is a good actress. 5 stars
2/02/03 y2mckay Well shit, I was writing a review, and the fuckng page blanked on me. Fuck it. It's Funny! 4 stars
4/09/01 ChErRyRiPe jesus on the crotch! this film was fucking hillarious! 5 stars
11/06/00 natasha funny and sweet- anything Steve Zahn says makes me laugh 4 stars
10/25/00 Elvisfan Not much to recommend or say I even enjoyed save for Macy, of course 2 stars
9/09/00 neilb quirky, but a little cliched 4 stars
9/04/00 DarcyElaine Adorable film with great performance from the almighty Bill Macy! 4 stars
8/02/00 Delusia The light is Green! 5 stars
2/19/00 Andi C. It was extremely funny!! 4 stars
2/12/00 Skye Chapman it entertained me 4 stars
1/13/00 furryfella william macy is a handsome devil and makes this film wonderful 5 stars
11/29/99 craig chill out guys, it's a comedy! 4 stars
11/18/99 El Tigre Some of the characters were likable (esp. William Macy's Chappy), but nothing memorable. 2 stars
10/11/99 rj love jeremy northam in this movie 5 stars
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  01-Oct-1999 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Mark Illsley

Written by
  Mark Illsley
  Phil Reeves

  Ally Walker
  Ileanna Douglas
  M.C. Gainey

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