Flawless review

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It just had to happen one day. After generations of mismatched cops, oddball crooks and incompatible cowboys, the Hollywood buddy movie roulette wheel finally had to turn up - - drumroll please - - stroke victim and drag queen. It was only a matter of time, folks...

Lethal Weapon with involuntary twitches, 48 Hours with sequins, The Odd Couple with a medical dictionary, Flawless is a horribly, well, flawed movie. From the kick-off, director Joel Schumacher (who else?) thrashes around trying to establish a consistent tone. Is it a gritty Serpico style-crime drama? A bout of camp Birdcagey nonsense? Both? Neither? This isn't a film directed so much as blindfolded and pointed downhill.

It's no mystery why De Niro's propping up this confused tosh. His last attempt at infirmity-mimicking (Awakenings) got him nominated for an Oscar and, with a string of recent mediocre efforts behind him, he's clearly labouring under the delusion that a meticulously reproduced catalogue of tics and spasms is the fast track back to acclaim. Wakey, wakey, Bob - the only academy likely to hand out prizes for his performance is the general medical council. The outside of Walt Koontz may be straight out of a textbook, but so's his bigot-forced-to-discover-his-humanity interior.

At least Philip Seymour Hoffman's drag queen with a heart of gold has a spark of life. Still, even a talent like Hoffman's can't overcome the difficulties of wearing a dress, full-make-up and a wig while trying to teach the world's greatest method actor to sing. Especially when said WGMA is mumbling every line in inaudible mimicry of a stroke victim.

You can almost hear a sigh of relief as the drug dealers barrel up, the bullets start flying and Flawless finally decides what it really is: a farce.

The lowest point in buddy movie history? Not quite, but you can see it from here. Just goes to prove that even the most talented actors still need a decent script, story and direction. One to quietly Tippex off the CV...

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