The pervert is back!It's not a movie about pornography or even about Hustler magazine, so before you go off on how sickening Larry Flynt is, know this:
You're probably right.
But that's neither here nor there, because ultimately this film is more about the First Amendment than it is about porn or nudity or even Larry Flynt.
Larry (Woody Harrelson) is a poor kid who grows up to own his own strip club. He's tired of having to read lame articales that go along with the arty-and-airbrushed pictorials he sees in Playboy or Penthouse. So he starts his own magazine, Hustler, and aims for the lowest common denominator. He's more interested in photospreads that are more gynecological than artful. Pretty soon, Larry's made a fortune and he's gotten married to a bisexual stripper named Althea Leasure (Courtney Love). But Larry likes to stir things up. His magazine gets put on the map when he publishes nude photos of Jackie Onassis and he has cartoons depicting a gangbang between Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and yes, Toto, too.
Larry frequently has to defend his magazine in court, and that's where his lawyer Allan Isaacman (Edward Norton) comes in. Isaacman defends Larry from the very beginning, getting him out of jail at the start of his legal battles through the end of the film, when Larry sits before the Supreme Court, defending his right to free speech through parody.
There's not a lot bad to say about this film. I know people are skeptical about Courtney Love. That's fine. But her performance here is soooo good. Actually, all the performances are fine performances. Harrelson has always been hit or miss with me, but he nails Flynt to a tee, including Flynt after an assassination attempt has left him paralyzed from the waist down and with slurred speech. Norton, always dependable, doesn't disappoint.
And again, it's about the First Amendment, a fundamental right of all Americans. You don't have to like Larry Flynt or what he does or stands for, but he's defending your right to say what you want right along with his.Unpopular speech is absolutely vital to the health of our nation.