Chris Pine’s Directorial Debut, ‘Poolman,’ Panned by Critics and Audiences

Chris Pine's Directorial Debut, 'Poolman,' Panned by Critics and Audiences

It all seemed great on paper. Chris Pine is the director, main star, and co-writer (with Ian Gotler). Alongside him, we have Annette Benning, Ray Wise, Ariana DeBose, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Danny DeVito – all great and well-known names. The movie? A mystery comedy akin to Polanski’s 1970s classic Chinatown, with a random poolman as the main character who discovers a sizeable water heist. It couldn’t be that bad, could it? Well, it could. The movie premiered in Toronto last year and the critics were not satisfied even then. Now, the movie is available in theaters in the United States, and we are sad to report that the critics have panned the movie completely, making Pine’s directorial debut a failure.

The movie’s official synopsis is as follows: “In Chris Pine’s feature directorial debut, Poolman tells the story of Darren Barrenman (Pine), a native Angeleno who spends his days looking after the pool of the Tahitian Tiki apartment block and fighting to make his hometown a better place to live. When he is tasked by a femme fatale to uncover the truth behind a shady business deal, Darren enlists the help of friends to take on a corrupt politician and a greedy land developer. His investigation reveals a hidden truth about his beloved city and himself. The film also stars Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Jennifer Jason Leigh, DeWanda Wise, Stephen Tobolowsky, John Ortiz and Ray Wise.

Chris Pine took the directorial role for the first time in his life here, and while the critics and audiences hate the movie, he says that it has been the best experience of his life:

“Criticism as an actor is just a part of the game, but there’s a lot of stuff to hide behind. There’s the director and the writer and the release pattern, etc. As an actor you come on set and you do your dance and you go off and by the time the film comes out you’ve done X amount of other projects. The closest thing I would imagine this is like — co-writing, directing, and starring in — is a stand-up comedian on stage feeling utterly naked. It’s been a real come-to-Jesus moment to seeing how resilient I am.


When the film came out at Toronto and just got f—king panned … I tried to make a joyful film. With so much joy behind it, to then be met with a fusillade of not-so-joyous stuff … the cognitive dissonance there was quite something. It’s forced me to double down on joy and really double down on what I love most about my job, which you kind of forget—it’s fundamentally about play. You become children for hours a day and make-believe. There’s an impish quality that I don’t want to lose.”

Source: Forbes

And while Pine claims that the film is the best thing that ever happened to him, the critics and audiences strongly disagree. As of the time of writing, the film has a rotten 17% score on Rotten Tomatoes (with an average rating of 2.9/10), with a horrible 20% audience score. On Metacritic, it has a 32/100 score with “generally unfavorable” reviews.

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