LaRoy, Texas movie poster

LaRoy, Texas

In theaters April 12, 2024

Rated

, ,

112 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

In the dark comedy, LaRoy, Texas (2024), Ray (John Magaro) discovers his world is crumbling around him. After he’s mistaken for a hitman and things go weirdly sideways, he wishes he pulled the trigger when he had the chance.

Ray is a milquetoast everyman who managed to land a former, but bitter, beauty queen, Stacy-Lynn (Megan Stevenson) in the hometown he never left. He owns a family hardware store with his brother, Junior (Matthew Del Negro) who seems to have it all, from a large house to a new boat. Ray discovers from a hapless local private detective, Skip (Steve Zahn) that Stacy-Lynn has been having an affair. Unable to give her what she wants or needs, and incapable of garnering respect from anyone who knows him, Ray sets out to kill himself. Fate in the parking lot of a seedy motel when a man drops into his passenger seat with an envelope full of money, a name, and instructions to kill. As a confused Ray drives away, Harry (Dylan Baker), the actual hired hitman pulls up, and out of a contract, resolves to salvage his fee and finish the job. Thus begins a wild black comedy of errors, blackmail, and double-crosses.

LaRoy, Texas is blessedly filled with small-town people with small-town thinking, and the simple approach works well in Shane Atkinson’s feature-length debut. There is nothing complicated about the interconnected plots that leave greed, ambition, and simple lust to carry the stories to their natural conclusion, which is why it’s surprisingly fresh and darkly funny. The town is full of people unable to get out of their own way, and in chasing their own personal ambitions, they trip and stumble without outside influence. You come away from LaRoy, Texas feeling like these little implosions happen all of the time, and in a way, it makes the broader story relatable.

John Magaro’s Ray is a sad sack of a human, simultaneously wanting to be out of the way, and still driven to make his wife happy. He drips insecurity and even when he’s brandishing a gun manages to broadcast “doormat.” He connects with Steve Zahn’s Skip, a man who believes his people skills are what make him a great private detective, despite the fact that no one really likes him. What elevates LaRoy, Texas is Dylan Baker’s Harry, the unrelenting killer with an easy smile and disarming charm, who doesn’t rely on gimmicks like classical music or naming his weapons to be effective. He just likes killing people.

LaRoy, Texas isn’t exactly a buddy film. It’s an ensemble cast that comes together in twos and threes never crowding the screen or overwhelming the story. It doesn’t rely on overt humor, but the subtle absurdity from everyday incompetence. It’s a movie to come away from feeling like you might could watch it again when recommending it, and you should. The second time is even better.

LaRoy, Texas (2024) is unrated and being released to all major VOD platforms. For the sake of a rating, call it PG-13 for swears, suicidal ideations, people getting beat up, bodies getting buried, and people getting shot. A lot.

LaRoy, Texas is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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