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Chris Pine's Most Personal Movie Is One Critics Hate

Sooner or later, many actors decide to test their prowess behind the camera. The Toronto International Film Festival saw Anna Kendrick's directorial debut, "Woman of the Hour," which earned immense praise and was picked up by Netflix. However, another famous face hasn't been quite as fortuitous, as Chris Pine's first foray into feature-film directing has landed with a dud, according to critics.

"Poolman" also premiered at TIFF 2023, and it looks like a real passion project for Pine, following up a popular turn in "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves." He not only directed "Poolman" but also played the lead role and co-wrote the screenplay. In a similar vein to "Chinatown," the film follows Darren (Pine), the titular pool carer who bakes in the sun and follows a zen routine. He's also heavily invested in his local city council, and when he's asked to investigate them, he gets wrapped up in a conspiracy.

Despite Pine's commitment to see the movie through, critics have not been kind to it. In fact, Siddhant Adlakha from IndieWire wrote, "Pine's paranoid noir satire will likely go down as one of the worst films to play at any major festival in recent memory." Yikes. Things don't get much better from there, creating an inauspicious start to Pine's directorial career. 

Poolman currently has a 25% positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes

Chris Pine previously mentioned how he came up with the idea for "Poolman" while working on "Wonder Woman 1984," but maybe this is one idea that should've stayed in drafts. It's not just professional critics who detested the movie, either. Siddhant Adlakha goes on to mention how numerous people walked out of the movie when it played at TIFF, suggesting little hope for general audiences coming around to this.

It's a shame because there's a lot of potential with the idea of turning "Chinatown" wacky with a stellar ensemble cast that includes Danny DeVito, Annette Bening, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. But critics have been brutal in their reviews, such as Michael Rechtshaffen from The Hollywood Reporter writing, "It gets lost in the shrill goofiness of a concept, which, at best, feels like the sort of half-baked SNL character sketches that tend to get buried in the slot following the second musical performance." The only good thing Rechtshaffen could find in the movie is Stephen Tobolowsky's character and performance. 

As of right now, Chris Pine's worst-reviewed movie on Rotten Tomatoes is still 2006's "Just My Luck" with a 12% rating from critics, where he starred opposite Lindsay Lohan. However, with this trajectory, "Poolman" may just beat it if it continues racking up negative reviews. And if it winds up really stinking, it could jeopardize Pine's position as the best Hollywood Chris.