Steve Zahn in Happy, Texas. Photograph by Dina S. Khouri. Courtesy Miramax.
The aptly named Happy, Texas makes a case for rehabilitation when two escaped prisoners steal an RV and gain humanity by taking on the personae of a gay couple on their way to direct a “little miss” beauty pageant. Starring Jeremy Northam, a Baldwinesque charmer, and Steve Zahn, in one of the smartest dumb performances ever, with a great supporting cast including William H. Macy, Ally Walker, and Ileana Douglas, it’s easy to see why this comedy created a feeding frenzy at Sundance. Happy, Texas serves as a reminder that pure enjoyment can be a worthy goal for a movie and that high concept does not necessarily imply Disaster.
Happy, Texas, directed by Mark Illseley, was recently released by Miramax Films.