A Texas brothel is shut down by a television personality’s campaign to enforce anti-prostitution laws against it. [ Best Little Whorehouse in Texas credits: Dir: Colin Higgins/Burt Reynolds, Dolly Parton, Dom DeLuise/ 115 min/ Musical-Dance, Comedy/ Sexual Liberty]
The house of prostitution portrayed here is unobjectionable by any reasonable standard. It’s clean and orderly, alcohol is forbidden, rowdies are ejected, and the prostitutes are checked by doctors. Its owner even donates money to local charity. No wonder that it’s popular as well. But it’s open only because the local sheriff looks the other way. Officially it’s still illegal, thanks to influential authoritarians in and out of office.
Enter a charismatic, power-hungry consumer reporter who exposes the place to the world, and the battle begins between good (supporters of the house) and evil (politicians and media opposing it). The overall effect of the film is to put legalized prostitution in a very favorable light, and to cast its opponents as intolerant and hypocritical.
Despite the seriousness of the subject at hand, this is not a drama but a light and entertaining musical comedy. The story, based on a stage play, is told in an upbeat, musical context with lots of catchy dance routines. Dolly Parton makes a delightful madam, and the film makes good use of her singing talent. Although rated R, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas not very explicit.