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Flawless (1999)

 
 
 
 
 
"One of the year's hottest surprises" (Rex Reed), this "feel-good drama" (San Francisco Chronicle) from writer-director Joel Schumacher (A Time to Kill) combines the acting talents of two-time Oscar(r) winner* Robert De Niro (Analyze This) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Talented Mr. Ripley)! Flawless lives up to its name with a story line that's full of compassion, tolerance and most of all "heart" (San Francisco Chronicle)! Walter Koontz (De Niro)once a hero cop, now a security guardlives in a rundown Hell's Kitchen tenement. One fateful night, after hearing the cries of a neighbor in trouble, his attempt to help turns into a nightmare when he suffers a stroke. Paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak clearly, Koontz, on the advice of his doctor, seeks voice lessons. But with winter holding him hostage to his apartment, he has no choice but to seek help from a musically inclined neighbor whom he vehemently dislikes an outspoken guy named Rusty (Hoffman)!

Who could possibly be the target audience for Flawless? Walter (Robert De Niro) is a homophobic policeman who suffers a stroke while responding to gunshots in his own apartment building; for speech therapy, he starts taking singing lessons from his neighbor Rusty (Philip Seymour Hoffman of Magnolia, Boogie Nights, and Happiness), a gay drag queen who's saving up money for a sex-change operation. However, there's another story line that takes up at least as much time as that one, about a drug dealer and his goons trying to find money that was stolen from them, brutally beating up everyone in their path. Furthermore, the local gay community (in New York City) seems to consist entirely of drag queens and Log Cabin Republicans, and one of Walter's cop buddies goggles at drag queens as if he's just arrived from the middle of Iowa. All the characters--including various prostitutes, drug dealers, a hotel clerk who's a weaselly mama's boy, as well as the aforementioned drag queens and cops--are horrific stereotypes. De Niro and Hoffman, both extremely talented actors, do all they can to overcome their cliché-studded dialogue, but they never seem to be in the same movie. Written and directed by Joel Schumacher, whose eclectic career includes Batman & Robin, A Time to Kill, Flatliners, and St. Elmo's Fire. --Bret Fetzer

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Theatrical release date
1999-11-24
25091
 
 
 
 

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