6.4/10
16,237
108 user 79 critic

Flawless (1999)

An ultraconservative police officer suffers a debilitating stroke and is assigned to a rehabilitative program that includes singing lessons, with the drag queen next door.

Director:

Joel Schumacher

Writer:

Joel Schumacher

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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Walt Koontz
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Rusty
Barry Miller ... Leonard Wilcox
Chris Bauer ... Jacko
Skipp Sudduth ... Tommy
Wilson Jermaine Heredia ... Cha-Cha
Nashom Benjamin Nashom Benjamin ... Amazing Grace
Scott Allen Cooper Scott Allen Cooper ... Ivana
Rory Cochrane ... Pogo
Daphne Rubin-Vega ... Tia
Vincent Laresca ... Raymond Camacho
Karina Arroyave ... Amber
John Enos III ... Sonny (as John Enos)
Jude Ciccolella ... Detective Noonan
Mina Bern ... Mrs. Spivak
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Storyline

Walt Koontz, a homophobic cop, ends up with paralyzed vocal cords because of an unfortunate stroke. His therapy includes singing lessons from a neighbor who is not only flamboyantly gay but also pre-operative transgender. Both of them are equally prejudiced; Koontz against non-heterosexuals and the neighbor against closed-minded straight people. Written by Rob Reser - The Movie Kid - <moviekid@filmspot.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They couldn't like each other less or need each other more. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Makellos See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,590,155, 28 November 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,485,485, 5 March 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tribeca Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS-Stereo | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joel Schumacher conceived the idea for the film from personal experience. One of his close friends suffered a series of strokes and had to relearn how to speak through singing lessons. See more »

Quotes

Walt Koontz: You pay for sex?
Rusty Zimmerman: Honey, there's no romance without finance.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, DeNiro and Hoffman sing the "Name Song" together while staying in character. See more »

Connections

References The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
Written by Sylvester (as Sylvester James) & James Wirrick
Performed by the cast, with additional vocals by Bruce Roberts
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great, amusing performances by Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman, but the plot is awkward. **1/2 (out of four)
31 January 2001 | by Movie-12See all my reviews

FLAWLESS / (1999) **1/2 (out of four)

By Blake French:

Somewhere in "Flawless" there is a very good movie, but it is shuttered by the awkwardness of a jumbled plot. There are two separate stories here, and although they are interrelated, either one by itself would be enough for a whole movie. Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman make a chemistry-rich pair, both entertaining and amusing, and their screen presence is deserving of a lot of attention-it is tragic that not one but two different stories get in the way of their electric charisma together.

The first storyline details a homophobic former New York City security officer named Walt Koontz (Robert De Niro) who, at the beginning of the movie, has a stroke while rushing to a nearby crime scene. He is burdened with partial paralysis on the right side of his body and speech problems, which can be overcome with the help of his neighbor, Rusty Zimmerman (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a flamboyantly gay drag queen who often practices his musically vocal abilities with fellow friends in drag. Walt's physical therapist recommends singing lessons from Rusty.

The other story involves a criminal named Mr. Z and his attempts to find the incompetent people who stole a large sum of cash belonging to him. As Walt'z recovery continues, and the relationship between him and Rusty becomes more stable, various characters must react to the danger of Mr. Z and his clan of criminals.

What makes this movie so amusing is the interesting personality clash between the characters of Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman. I just wish De Niro's character was more active; for much of the production he is nothing but a metronome who is unable to speak or even move much. Some of the elements involving the gay drag queens are hilarious and contribute to the movie's effective mood, and Philip Seymour Hoffman is so deliciously clever as Rusty that I would nominate his performance for an Oscar almost immediately. The dialogue is witty and intelligent ("I need some butch faggots over here."), taking advantage of the situations applicable and giving the movie a surprising emotionally gentle side.

Not much else of "Flawless" is gentle, though. The overwhelming majority of the movie is gritty, rough material intended for adult audiences only. The vulgarism and profanity seemingly never stop and the coarse atmosphere is prevalent. The film is shot in a grainy, high-contrast style, with excellent cinematography and mood development. None of this shocks us, however, since the film's director, Joel Schumacher, was behind such perverse movies like "A Time To Kill," "8MM," and "Tigerland."

"Flawless" has a lot of decent material but it just does not fit together because of the plot distractions. Too much plot has never really been an issue for Joel Schumacher; in "A Time to Kill" and "8MM" he found focus with a central character, here he finds likable traits in two main characters, but allows the plot to control their inspirational qualities. If Schumacher were to reexamine this script with a different perspective, perhaps cutting the Mr. Z plot entirely, maybe it would work more effectively. As it currently stands, "Flawless" is a movie in which the actors work hard to overcome a plot heavy script and they do reign victorious in a few battles, but eventually lose the war.


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