Happy, Texas (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Happy, Texas1999

Happy, Texas (1999)



Critic Consensus: A smart, light-hearted romantic comedy, Happy, Texas uses its well-written script and exceptional cast to prove there's still life left in the fish-out-of-water caper genre.

Happy, Texas Photos

Movie Info

Happy, Texas is a fish-out-of-water comedy about two con men who escape from prison, then pose as gay lovers to hide out in a small Texas town. Mistaken for consultants to the Little Miss Fresh Squeezed Beauty Pageant, Harry (Jeremy Northam) and Wayne (Steve Zahn) go along with the ruse so they can stake out the local bank, owned by Josephine "Joe" McClintock (Ally Walker). The story kicks into high gear as Harry starts falling in love with Joe but cannot let on about his feelings. Also complicating matters is that gay Sheriff Dent (William H. Macy) has the hots for Harry, and Harry must pretend he's interested to keep the cops off his back. Meanwhile, Wayne is getting in touch with his feminine side as he tries his best to teach dance steps and flaming baton twirling to the little girls; he's also lusting after the girls' teacher, Ms. Schaefer (Ileana Douglas). Everything leads up to the big beauty pageant, where the cops are finally on Harry and Wayne's tail. First-time director Mark Illsley received wide media attention for this commercial piece, which sold to Miramax after a very public and intense bidding war. Steve Zahn's performance won him a special acting award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, where the film premiered in dramatic competition .

Watch it now


Jeremy Northam
as Harry Sawyer
Steve Zahn
as Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr.
Ally Walker
as Josephine McLintock
Illeana Douglas
as Ms. Schaefer
William H. Macy
as Sheriff Chappy Dent
Mo Gaffney
as Mrs. Bromley
Ron Perlman
as Nalhober
M.C. Gainey
as Bob Maslow
Mark Illsley
as Guard on Horse
Melissa Arnold
as Other Happy Girl
Cassie Silva
as Other Happy Girl
Tiffany Takra
as Other Happy Girl
Ed Stone
as Alton
Kiva Hoy
as Pageant Judge
Carly Fink
as `Little Light' Girl
View All

News & Interviews for Happy, Texas

Critic Reviews for Happy, Texas

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (15)

Steve Zahn shines in Illsley's feature debut, elevating this eccentric small-town comedy two notches above the level of writing. Using the fish out of water format, this Sundance premiere begins well but then declines rapidly.

January 29, 2007 | Rating: B-
Top Critic

...although it reverts to slapstick for its set-piece chase finale, for most of its length Mark Illsley's debut film offers an unexpectedly gentle, even sentimental comedy of sexual identities...

December 2, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A charming fish-out-of-water romantic comedy, the modestly budgeted Happy, Texas more than makes up in heart what it lacks in splash.

November 6, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Happy, Texas is a hoot, a hilarious comedy that's smart and caring, yet sexy and ingenious enough that it just might stir up some of that elusive Full Monty-style box-office appeal.

February 14, 2001 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Uneven in places but with a few choice hilarious moments, it is well worth the rental.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Happy, Texas is a light, breezy and very amusing comedy.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Happy, Texas

My husband and I consider this one of our all time favorites. Not only did it have one of my favorite actors, William H. Macy, but the whole subject matter was hysterical. Funny, funny movie.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


It was okay but definitely not hilarious...I think maybe I laughed once. I think the movie had a lot of potential but it fell flat.

Megan S
Megan S

Super Reviewer


i pretty terrible film really i wouldnt recomend it to anyone!

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Happy, Texas Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features