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'Poolman' Review

LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic “Poolman” is unfortunately not nearly as good as “Birdman”, but there are some influences of that Oscar-winning Best Picture in actor Chris Pine’s directorial debut. Pine, best known for the modern “Star Trek” trilogy, “Wonder Woman” and “Hell or High Water”, also serves as co-writer and star. He plays Darren, a pool cleaner in a motel turned apartment complex in Los Angeles.

It’s the first of the year. He’s in a relationship with Susan (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), though it may not last much longer. Darren’s friends are Jack and Diane (Danny DeVito and Annette Bening), who won’t stop talking on top of each other. Very annoying. Darren likes to go see the city councilman (Stephen Tobolowsky) pretty much every day, hoping to persuade him to install a trolley system in L.A., among other ideas. Soon Darren gets caught-up in a mystery involving the councilman and some other people. A femme fatale enters the picture — June (played by “Imaginary”‘s DeWanda Wise).

“Poolman” tries to be an old Hollywood film, with blatant references to “Chinatown”. Pine gives a partially decent performance as Darren. The problem is that he’s not a very likable lead character… and quite scatterbrained. So is the entire movie. That doesn’t make for a stellar experience. Most of the scenes in “Poolman” fall flat. This is trying to be a successful bumbling comedy, and sadly I only chuckled three or four times. The script is kind of all over the place.

Every once in a while you get a glimpse of what could’ve been a funny and interesting, offbeat film. And then comes along a dramatic, rather touching scene between Pine and Tobolowsky in the third act that feels like it’s out of a completely different movie. If Pine could’ve retooled and reshaped “Poolman” and cut down sections (some scenes go on too long), maybe this would’ve been solid. But with what we get, for the most part, this sinks.

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LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic

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