(director/writer: Chris Pine; screenwriter: Ian Gotler; cinematographer: Matthew Jensen; editor: Stacey Schroeder; music: Andrew Bird; cast: Chris Pine (Darren Barrenman), Annette Bening (Diane), Danny DeVito (Jack), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Susan), DeWanda Wise (June Del Rey), Stephen Tobolowsky (Steve Toronkowski, city council boss), Clancy Brown (Mayoral candidate), Ray Wise (Van Patterson); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Stacey Sher, Patty Jenkins, Chris Pine, Ian Gotler; Wicious Pictures; 2023)

“There was nothing funny in this misguided comedy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A disappointing spoof on “Chinatown” directed and written, in his directorial debut, by the actor turned director Chris Pine, who co-writes it with Ian Gotler. Despite the likeable Pine starring and directing, the movie was a bomb in need of a life preserver. There was nothing funny in this misguided comedy, that’s billed as a “love letter to L.A.”.

Darren (Chris Pine) is the long-haired and bearded hippie, a Zen-like LA pool cleaner at a rundown motel turned apartment complex. He teams up with the unemployed director Diane (Annette Bening) and the Tahitian Tiki owner Jack (Danny DeVito), an aspiring documentary filmmaker, where they all reside at the TikiLA . They meet to make a documentary on warding off greedy real-estate developers from exploiting the city they all dearly love. Darren’s girlfriend Susan (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the resident manager at the Tiki, also joins the group.

The femme fatale, June Del Rey (DeWanda Wise), gets involved and implores Darren to do undercover work to expose the city’s crooked politicians who are messing with the precious LA water system.

Darren uncovers that a tough guy (Ray Wise) is illegally siphoning off the city’s water supply to his almond-growing farm operation.

Aside from showing us some famous LA landmarks, this tedious film, which is no “Chinatown,” could put you to sleep it was such a bore. I think this might appeal to insomniac viewers.

It played at the Toronto Film Festival

REVIEWED ON 10/12/2023  GRADE: C-