I have a better title for this film: How about "Actor Land" or "Attack of the Character Actors"? It's like somebody sprayed some kind of actor repellent during an Actor's Guild meeting and all these people came scurrying out like roaches. Consequently, the film reminded me of one of those quizzes you get at the end of sixth grade to verify that you're not too profoundly retarded to progress to seventh grade. They featured such questions as: "Which one of these things doesn't belong? a) Peanuts b) Popcorn c) Cotton candy d) Hot dogs or e) Scummy naked hookers."
Here, you try. Which item is the "scummy naked hooker" in this list?
a) Robert De Niro
b) Harvey Keitel
c) Ray Liotta
d) Sylvester Stallone
Trying to reclaim his right to even be called an "actor," Sylvester Stallone has done virtually everything that the "Acting for Dummies" book would probably suggest. First, he's changed his physical appearance by gaining a lot of weight. Second, he's playing a character with a disability. Third, he's mastered the art of staring off into space and looking sad. Christ, if that doesn't spell Academy Award these days, what does? Stallone plays Freddy Heflin, Sheriff of Garrison, N.J., a town across from New York City that is a sort of bedroom community for corrupt members of the N.Y.P.D. Having gone deaf in one ear while rescuing a woman (Annabella Sciorra) when he was a teenager, Freddy lives a pathetic existence as the "yes man" to a group of dirty cops.
When big controversy hits Garrison, Freddy is forced to decide whether he's going to stand idly by or do what's right. Rest assured he doesn't go into a maniacal rage and start hacking up little children. No, he does what every caricature-turned-serious-actor does: He runs home and ponders his existence to the tune of some new Bruce Springsteen song and concludes that nobody is going to take him seriously if he's a fat, disabled cop who stares off into space a lot. Now that's drama.
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