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So What’s Going On With Chris Pine’s Divisive Directorial Debut?

Chris Pine cleaning a pool in his movie Poolman

While the reviews might not bring many hope, I remain optimist about Chris Pine’s directorial debut, Poolman. With its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 11, the film has taken quite a lot of flak on Letterboxd, with only two reviews seemingly posted online and neither of them overwhelmingly positive. But you know why I have hope? One Letterboxd user said that the film was the “Wet Hot American Summer take on Chinatown,” with many others “negatively” bringing up The Big Lebowski in comparison.

Honestly, that all sounds fantastic for me and right up Pine’s alley as a creative.

While I have yet to see the film and want to very badly, it hasn’t gotten a release date yet outside of its TIFF premiere, so we might be waiting a while, especially since the reviews are split between people hating it or people proudly telling everyone on Letterboxd that it’s fun. (Those people are my allies. I love them. I also like to tell people movies are fun.) Described as a “love letter” to Los Angeles while also being embroiled in the mystery of Darren (Chris Pine) as a character, the movie seems to be like a zany take on the Los Angeles “cool guy” mindset, which is a little like The Big Lebowski but also just very Los Angeles, where Pine was born and raised.

The film is described as follows: “Follows a hapless dreamer and would-be philosopher who spends his days looking after the pool of the Tahitian Tiki apartment block in sunny LA. When he uncovers the greatest water heist, he does what he can to protect his precious LA. Armie Hicks Jr.” They have also noted that Darren uses his portable CD player to listen to classical music while he cleans the pool at his home with long hair. Just wanted to inform you all of that fact.

With just the two reviews set on Rotten Tomatoes currently, it is going to be fascinating to see what comes of Chris Pine’s star-studded directorial debut given the mixed response, but I, for one, am excited. So, let’s talk a bit about what we do know of the film.

All of Chris Pine’s players

If you think you’ve seen them in something, they’re probably in this movie. Playing Jack and Diane (yes, like the song), Darren’s neighbors in the film, are Annette Bening and Danny DeVito. So that really starts to paint a picture of who all came out for this wacky ride into the Los Angeles scene. According to some reviews, Clancy Brown is also in it, alongside DeWanda Wise, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

All play a part in this off-the-rails movie about a man trying to keep his California dream alive, and while we don’t know much about Poolman, the idea of Chris Pine taking on Wet Hot American Summer in his own way would make Eric the Rocker so proud. Personally, I’m not deterred by the two negative reviews so far. Their critiques are valid, but what I’ve seen on the positive side has given me hope for this movie because I do love the out-there comedy of things like Wet Hot American Summer, especially from a comedic actor like Pine.

So until we know when we can see Poolman ourselves, at least we know that Chris Pine has some wild hair, right?

(featured image: AGC Studios)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.