Fix: When You’ve Seen Emma Too Many Times Lately and Can’t Deal With Any More Gwyneth Paltrow, and an Ideal Husband Just Makes You Rant About Rupert Everett’s Horrible Plastic Surgery, but You’re Annoyed That Jeremy Northam Is Only in Carrington for About 30 Seconds (Although They’re 30 Very Naked, Strapping Seconds)
Mistaken as consultants to a beauty pageant in the town of Happy, Texas, two escaped convicts take advantage of the blunder, posing as gay lovers.
Two hapless, accidental prison escapees steal a camper van belonging to a crack junior pageant team (the pageant coaches don’t give a shit — they’re using the insurance money to go to Maui) and end up having to pose as gay couple Steve and David, pageant pros hired by the town of Happy, Texas, to put on the Little Miss Fresh Squeezed pageant.
So, look, this movie came out in 1999, back when Ellen was still mildly scandalous and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was only 6 years old, so there’re a fair amount of “straight guy weirded out by pretending to be gay” jokes, but but BUT it’s not homophobic. The movie IS about being gay, and it’s also about being straight, and mainly about being yourself. There’s a super sweet DUPER sweet coming out bit, and the townspeople way work hard to change the perception of Texans as crazy, big haired bigots a la Rick Perry.
Anyway, so Wayne spends all his time learning dance moves, sewing costumes, and babysitting 9-year-old pageant contestants, while Harry swans around town hitting on the lonely banker lady and fending off men’s advances, all under the guise of trying to plan a bank heist after harvest time.
Jeremy Northam as Harry
Jeremy Northam, aka the hottest Mr. Knightley to ever Knightley in tight breeches, is Harry Sawyer, credit card scam artist. No tight breeches here — just some kinda gross greasy hair — but he still does that really sexy thing where he looks at a woman’s mouth while chatting her up, and he has the same bashful grin. Just … pretend the costume director got fired or something. At least he’s not wearing that stupid-ass hat like in The Tudors (historical accuracy, my ass. Have you SEEN that show? They could have given him a better hat — I don’t care if that’s what Thomas More really wore).
Steve Zahn as Wayne
Steve Zahn plays car thief Wayne Wayne, Jr. He’s been in a lot of stuff, but the film that REALLY MATTERS is You’ve Got Mail, where he plays the morose George, who likes his apartment to smell mossy for the ladies. Also, I love the guy, but did you know people ACTUALLY google “Steve Zahn shirtless”?? I certainly don’t. Yeesh.
William H. Macy as Chappy
William H. Macy is Chappy, the sweet, hilarious sheriff of Happy. Aw, sad face!
Illeana Douglas as Ms. Schaefer
Miss Schaefer, Ileana Douglas, is my absolute favorite. A less creepy Shelly Duvall, she usually gets bit parts as the crazy girlfriend (and was on three episodes of Law & Order: SVU). Here she plays the innocent-in-front-of-the-kids teacher? Pageant director? I don’t remember exactly. Anyway, she’s delightfully dirty and is a perfect counterpart to Steve Zahn.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Anything Goes
This movie has a little bit for everyone — fans of dark(ish) slapstick, romcom addicts, people who can’t get enough of Honey Boo Boo (I’d like you to notice it predates Toddlers and Tiaras and Little Miss Sunshine by years). The only people you don’t want to watch this movie with are homophobic assholes, and who wants to watch a movie with them anyway? Not me.
Recommended Level of Inebriation Silly, But Not Sloppy
You need enough booze in you to be able to ignore the atrocious faux-Texas accents (it’s sad when the English dude has one of the better accents of the lot), and ignore Northam’s greasy hair, but you don’t want to be so drunk you can’t appreciate his gorgeousness DESPITE the greasy hair. Oh, and you’ll want to ignore the late-90s jeans/tucked in shirt combo. Yikes. Also, you’ll want to save room to share a few drinks with William H. Macy about an hour and 15 minutes in.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Moderate
Sure, it’s not the greatest movie in the world, and the eye candy is unfortunately clothed and styled, but it’s still funny and adorable and I dare you not to fall in love with William H. Macy and want to move to Happy. Besides, the girls’ pageant routine (hell, the whole last scene) is the greatest thing since (or before) Abigail Breslin ripped off her pants to honor her heroin-addict grandpa.