Happy Texas
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

The American audience seems to have an insatiable appetite for movies about straight men pretending to be gay.  They seem to find this very funny.  And it seems to be the only way the American movie audience can deal with gay characters in leading roles.  That being said, this is a cute funny film.  It was a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival this year.  The plot involves two convicts who escape  and take over the identities of two gay lovers who coordinate beauty pageants for little girls.  This subject is still a bit too spooky for me after the Jon Benet Ramsey case but it provides some funny moments in the movie.  The two convicts hide out in the town of Happy Texas while organizing their local pageant.  There is little new ground covered here.  All the usual jokes and situations you can imagine involving straight guys pretending to be gay are trotted out here.  What makes this movie funny and sweet is the script and the performances.  Jeremy Northam is particularly good here, as well as being so hunky that the town's female residents all swoon even though he's supposed to be gay.  He has used his looks to good effect in recent period pieces such as The Winslow Boy, The Ideal Husband and Emma. I first saw him in The Net with Sandra Bullock where he did an excellent job as the villain.  Steve Zahn is quite a bit off the wall playing the other hardbitten con who ends up making up dance routines and sewing outfits for the little girls.  While in town, the two are planning to rob the local bank run by a woman, Ally Walker. Northam ends up falling for Walker while the local sheriff, who really is gay, falls for him.  The sheriff is played by the amazing William H. Macy, aka the hardest working actor in show business.  He is great here as always.  Illeana Douglas, Ron Perlman and Paul Dooley are all good in supporting roles. There are no surprises here but I laughed out loud several times.  That was a bad sign during End of Days but it's a good sign here.