Happy, Texas is one of those good-natured comedies that takes you by surprise, and you can't help but like it. It is brimming with good performances, funny situations, and a heartwarming, often hilarious story. Everything begins when Harry Sawyer (Jeremy Northam, An Ideal Husband, The Winslow Boy) and Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr. (Steve Zahn, Forces of Nature, You've Got Mail) escape from prison. They carjack a large RV, and attempt to lay low until things calm down with the police. It turns out that the trailer they hijacked belongs to a gay couple who tours the country organizing beauty pageants. Sawyer and Wayne realize this when they reach the small town of Happy, which hired the couple to organize the Miss Freshly Squeezed Pageant. It is the perfect hiding place for them. Everyone is looking for two convicts, not two gay men.
It also helps that they are receiving a small sum of money for organizing the pageant. At the bank, Sawyer learns that a large sum of money will be coming to Happy, so he and Wayne decide to stay the week to rob the bank. In the meantime, Wayne is in charge of helping to get little girls ready for the pageant, while Sawyer cozies up to the bank manager Joe (Ally Walker, fresh from NBC's Profiler, Kazaam). Over the course of the week, Sawyer and Wayne begin to change. The small town people and lifestyle appeal to both of them, and at the same time, the effect of these two in the town brings a change in the people they encounter. Joe feels comfortable confiding in Sawyer because she thinks he is gay, while Sawyer, who wants to steal her money, finds himself increasingly attracted to her. Sheriff Chappy Dent (William H. Macy, Psycho, Mystery Men) is inspired by the presence of Sawyer and Wayne to try to sort out the issues in his life. Meanwhile, Wayne, who is not much of a sociable person, begins to care for the little girls he is coaching.
The script by Ed Stone and Phil Reeves is chock full of hilarious and tender moments. The town of Happy is full of believable, ordinary people, filled with emotions and dreams. The comedy is always kind-spirited, never condescending, especially towards the gay characters. The performances are good all around, with notable performance by Macy and Zahn. Macy is a great actor, dependable in all circumstances. His Sheriff Chappy is played with a large amount of hesitancy and restraint, a result of his character's own journey into the unknown. The results of his journey are both funny and poignant. Zahn is delightful as Wayne, a man with a huge mustache and a very low I.Q. Wayne is prone to fighting, and the funniest moments in the film deal with him trying to deal with little girls. Director Mark Illsley has it easy, working with great actors and a great script, and it's a good thing he didn't mess it up.
|Haro Rates It: Pretty Good
|1 hour, 44 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content, and some violence.
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