THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS—–shucks, folks, jist nuthin’ but the best little waste of a couple dozen million dollars ya ever did see! Obscenely expensive ($35,000,000 in 1982) musical-comedy about a famous raunchranch in Lone Star country makes the transition from real-life to story to stage to screen with dang little charm, not much to look at (well, Dolly’s cleavage might skip your heart a few beats) and music that’s as forgettable as anything you might suffer through at a local variety show (one of Dolly’s own compositions, “I Will Always Love You”, is a glowing exception).
Parton is the best thing about this 111-minute item: all the frantic, witless capering that swirls around her doesn’t defeat her natural charm. She’s too good for the movie. Burt Reynolds took a giant step backwards here: for all the millions he was paid you’d think he’d at least act like he cared a tad for the project, his performance, or the public who paid to see it (it grossed $70,000,000 domestically, the ninth biggest hit of the year).
Dom DeLuise is off-putting, and the idea of listening to Jim Nabors’ narration, along with watching him for ten minutes–let alone two hours–may be too much for those wondering what the view from the top of that interstate bridge looks like. Charles Durning sashays sprightly as the Governor, pro work that nabbed him a Supporting Actor nomination.