Where is the love for Justin Timberlake's dramatic acting debut?
Despite its prestigious closing-night spot at the Toronto Film Festival and the presence of estimable, Oscar-owning costars like Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman, audiences will only be able to catch the corrupt-cop drama Edison Force at their local Blockbuster. (Or on their Netflix queue, etc.)
The film, which was made in 2004, hits stores rather than theaters Tuesday after a variety of delays kept it from its original spring 2005 release date and, finally, negative reviews but the kibosh on further big-screen showings. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is taking care of distribution duties.
In Edison Force (which was renamed because the original title, Edison, made it sound more like a biopic about the inventor of the light bulb), Timberlake plays a tenacious, albeit naïve, young journalist who sets out to uncover the dirty dealings of an elite police squad in the fictional town of Edison with the help of his newspaper mentor (Freeman) and a D.A. investigator (Spacey).
Apparently, there's nothing worth uncovering in Edison Force, which Variety called "a parade of clichés." The bad guys (Dylan McDermott, Cary Elwes) are so bad at what they do that "a reporter from Seventeen magazine could pin them to the mat," critic Scott Foundas wrote.
But we'll try not to cry a river over Timberlake's brief setback. The pop-R&B heartthrob returned to the Billboard Hot 100 this week with the new single "SexyBack" off his upcoming album, FutureSex/Love Sounds, and rocked London's Hammersmith Palladium Thursday night with new tunes and old favorites from his double-Grammy winner Justified. The video for "SexyBack" premieres on MTV July 25 and fans will have FutureSex Sept. 12.
Timberlake has also signed on to lend his voice to Shrek 3 alongside girlfriend Cameron Diaz, and he has three more films coming up, including Alpha Dog, a true-crime tale that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to generally favorable reviews, and the drama Black Snake Moan with Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson.
The less well-received Southland Tales (well, laughed out of competition, actually), in which Timberlake is an Iraq war vet who narrates everything he sees through the scope of his machine gun, premiered at Cannes in May. Under strict orders from hundreds of angry Frenchmen, director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) headed back to the editing room to retool his sci-fi flick, which costars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.