Even though I never saw it, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas made a strong impression on me when I was a kid.
Colin Higgins is best known for the script of the cult classic Harold & Maude (1971), which he wrote as his masters’ thesis in screenwriting. Higgins sadly died young of AIDS in 1988, but not before writing and later directing a handful of films that, in my mind at least, define the late ’70s and early ’80s, including Silver Streak (1976), Foul Play (1978), Nine to Five (1980), and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I remember seeing the cover for the BetaMax video of this film on the top shelf of the video store I was sometimes taken to as a kid, and later not being allowed to see it when it played on TV.
Finally seeing it for the first time, it lived up to my expectations. The staging of the musical numbers is campy almost beyond belief, the dialogue is corny, and when a few serious topics are touched upon, they are dealt with in the most superficial of ways. What can I say? I love this film. As in 9 to 5, Dolly Parton does her best to put in a professional performance, and Burt Reynolds was at stage of his career when he actually still had some charm.