Happy, Texas

Bomb Rating: 

Apparently, everybody is repressed in Texas, but they're happy about it, because they're too stupid to think that their life should be somehow different.

This is the spin put on rural living by city-dweller Mark Illsley, who's made the choice to view these people much as a biologist might view a colony of chimps. Can't you just hear Jane Goodall? "They have a distinct social structure, and when you become familiar with them and their behavior, it's so similar to humans' that you forget that they're animals." Now there's Texas in a nutshell.

Excluding human/barnyard animal relationships, there appears to be no sex in Happy, which makes you wonder how it could be happy. The local schoolteacher, Miss Schaefer (Illeana Douglas) is horny and so is the town's banker, Josephine McClintock (Ally Walker). And once the sheriff, Chappy (William H. Macy), comes out of the closet, he too goes looking for some lovin'. This all comes about when two fugitives, Harry Sawyer (Jeremy Northam) and Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr. (Steve Zahn) come to town pretending to be gay beauty pageant organizers.

I'm sure the town of Happy is just pleasant as can be when they're not holding Klan rallies and beating down the doors of public facilities to get them to teach creationism in the schools. And as a resident of Colorado, I can tell you that more Texans die each year from skiing into trees than do squirrels trying to scurry across our interstates. So whether you loathe them or look upon them as God's lesser children, there's no real way to make a film about Texas that isn't underscored with distasteful, unpleasant horror.

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