Flawless

"Weak"

Flawless Review


The recipe for Joel Schumacher's post-"Batman" cry for redemption goes a little something like this:

Take one part "As Good As It Gets," but give the anti-social bigot a gritty, blue-collar bent and a debilitating stroke instead of an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Add one part irritating drag queen movie ("To Wong Fu..." will do nicely) and two parts syrupy, medicinal social commentary.

When batter gets thin or starts curdle, toss in a pinch of random street gang subplot and beat vigorously to mask the flavor and force a climax to rise.

Pour the concoction over actors that deserve much better, give it a title that invites mockery, and serve for $8 a helping.

Such is "Flawless," a misguided Oscar-baiting actors' showcase drama about an abrasive, judgmental, lonely, retired cop (Robert De Niro) and his screaming drag queen neighbor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who overcome their mutual disdain to form a bond of true friendship.

You can roll your eyes now.

The catalyst for this reluctant camaraderie is a stroke suffered by craggy ex-cop Walter Koontz (De Niro) while defending their residential hotel from a pusher on a rampage over missing drug money. Walter is partially paralyzed and his speech becomes slurred, so his doctor recommends singing lessons as therapy.

Unable to afford a speech therapist and feeling glum and self-conscious about being seen by friends in his condition, he turns to "Busty Rusty" (Hoffman), his fah-bulous, finger-snapping floormate, who De Niro had always made a habit of picking on when Rusty and his "girls" rehearsed for their various night club acts.

Out of fiscal necessity, Rusty agrees to be Walter's voice coach. Polar opposites, they snipe at each other until gradually each fellow's "I'm OK, You're OK" humanity surfaces from the icy depths of their hearts.

With such extraordinary actors as De Niro and Hoffman as tent poles, "Flawless" could have been a quality character piece if only writer-director Schumacher had written deeper characters or exercised even a modicum of self-restraint.

De Niro plays his malady and his hopelessness with heartbreakingly convincing empathy, but take away the stroke and the guy has little to work with. And really, who wants to see De Niro sing -- let alone sing with a speech impediment?

As for Hoffman, there's a strong, subtle, tender performance struggling to get out here. This is an actor whose incredible range has allowed him to play everything from a habitual masturbator in "Happiness" and a snooty medical student in "Patch Adams" to a tornado chaser in "Twister" and a pathetic, porn-industry groupie in "Boogie Nights."

But it's obvious from watching him in "Flawless" that Schumacher was demanding bigger and queenier after every take, and Hoffman's brilliance is lost in an exaggerated tizzy of agitated arm-waving, clipped-voice diatribes and verklemt tears.

The oh-so-scripted road to friendship between these two men is simplistic and transparent, but not nearly as transparent as the presence of the drug dealer subplot, which just hangs over the story like the proverbial other shoe, waiting drop a chase scene into the last reel because writer-director Schumacher couldn't think of any other way to wrap up his movie.



Flawless

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th March 2008

Box Office USA: $1.1M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Magnolia Pictures, Pierce/Williams Entertainment, Zero Gravity Management, Delux Productions, Film Fund Luxembourg, Future Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 52 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Laura Quinn, as Mr. Hobbs, as Finch, as Ollie, Shaughan Seymour as Eaton, Nicholas Jones as Jameson, David Barras as Fenton, as Milton Kendrick Ashtoncroft, as Reece, Derren Nesbitt as Sinclair, Rosalind March as Penelope, Kevan Willis as Lewis, Stanley Townsend as Henry, as Boyle, Ben Righton as Bryan, as Cassie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.