Many women leap to life with the autonomy and energy that can come with middle age. In marriages, they often assume managerial roles abandoned by their spouses who are becoming less competitive. And while the male libido cools down, women are ready for new sexual adventures. David Gutmann, a scholar of human development, calls this phenomenon a "return of the repressed," in which men accept their feminine side and women their masculine traits.
Texasville is the sequel to director Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 film The Last Picture Show. Both movies are based on best-selling novels by Larry McMurtry. The first was set in 1951 in a small Texas town; the second takes place in 1984.
Former high school football star Duane (Jeff Bridges) is now one step away from bankruptcy. His oil company is twelve million dollars in debt. For this middle-ager, troubles have come in bunches. His spunky and caustic wife Karla (Annie Potts) is paying him back with infidelities of her own. His oldest son (William McNamara) has already slept his way through town, even having affairs with the wives of Duane's friends. His twins manage to sabotage the county's centennial celebration, which Duane has worked so hard to make a smooth success. Duane's best friend Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) is the town mayor, but he suffers from blackouts and memory loss.
Most of the men in town including a banker (Randy Quaid) and another oil entrepreneur (Earl Poole Ball) can't satisfy their wives. They all notice when Jacy Farrow (Cybill Shepherd) returns to town after years of living abroad and a career as an actress. Duane, who dated her in high school, is irresistibly drawn to her but doesn't make a move. She adopts his dog and becomes close friends with Karla.
Director Peter Bogdanovich has made Texasville into a bittersweet film about the changes of middle age. The women here are strong, opinionated, and lively, whereas the men are weary, vague, and burnt out. Duane thinks that everyone in town who counts is suffering from craziness. At times when it all becomes too much for him, he retreats to his boat for some privacy. Jacy helps by encouraging Duane's large family to move in with her.
By stepping out of the pressure for a bit and letting the women do the initiating, Duane is able to renegotiate his marriage to Karla and to assume a more nurturing role with his family and friends. By the end, Texasville has become a strong and sympathetic study of the advantages of middle age role reversal.