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Chris Pine Loves His New Movie Even Though Critics Hate It

May 10, 20244 Mins Read

Critics hate Chris Pine’s new film Poolman, but that isn’t dampening his love for the movie that he directs and stars in.

The indie film—which is new in theaters Friday—made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2023. Billed as a comedy-mystery, Poolman follows Darren Barrenman (Chris Pine), a caretaker of a pool in Los Angeles who enlists his friends to help him investigate some shady business dealings involving a politician and land developer in the area.

Poolman, which the Star Trek reboot star also co-wrote with Ian Golter, attracted several major actors to fill out the film’s cast, including Annette Bening, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Danny DeVito.

Despite the star recognition, critics aren’t impressed with Poolman. The film earned a dismal 19% “rotten” rating on the critic site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 37 reviews that were published either recently or after the film’s debut at the TIFF.

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One of the reviews published after the TIFF premiere came from Variety critic Owen Gleiberman, who wrote that Poolman is “not only the worst film I saw during the fall festival season but would likely be one of the worst films in any year it came out.”

In an interview to discuss the film on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Variety), Pine revealed to host Josh Horowitz how he copes with film critics.

“Criticism as an actor is just a part of the game, but there’s a lot of stuff to hide behind,” Pine explained to Horowitz. “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.”

If anything, the negative reviews from critics for Poolman have taught Pine to be stronger.

“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,” Pine told Horowitz. “It’s been a real come-to-Jesus moment to seeing how resilient I am.”

Pine Says ‘Poolman’ Is ‘The Best Thing That’s Ever Happened To Me’

Chris Pine, of course, is used to being treated better by critics, having starred in such hits as 2009’s Star Trek, 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2016’s Star Trek Beyond, which all earned stellar ratings from Rotten Tomatoes reviewers.

Pine has remained starry-eyed after Poolman despite the film’s critical lambasting at TIFF. In fact, Poolman reminded the actor-filmmaker why he loves his job so much.

“When the film came out at Toronto and just got f—king panned … I tried to make a joyful film,” Pine told Horowitz during his Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Variety). “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.”

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Ultimately, Pine told Horowitz, Poolman is “the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“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,” Pine told Horowitz. “You become children for hours a day and make-believe. There’s an impish quality that I don’t want to lose.”

One thing is for certain—Pine isn’t about to apologize for what he did with Poolman.

“I watched my film. After the reviews in Toronto, I was like maybe I did make a pile of s—t,” Pine told Horowitz. “I went back and watched it. I f—king love this film. I love this film so much.”

Poolman opens in theaters on Friday. According to Deadline, the movie—which marks Pine’s directorial debut—will play in 160 theaters in its opening weekend.

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