Justin Timberlake has proven that he is a man of many talents, and he doesn't let us down with his solid dramatic performance in "Palmer" (new on Apple TV+ on Friday, January 29th, 2021). But the film itself is bland and uninspired, and even Timberlake's performance is just not enough to save it.
Timberlake plays the title character, Eddie Palmer, who has just been released from prison after 12 years behind bars. He's a quiet, deeply depressed man who prior to his incarceration had a bright future ahead of him. He returns to his rural childhood home where his grandmother (June Squibb) now presides, and where her only rule for him is that he must attend church weekly.
On the trailer lot adjacent to his grandmother's home, Palmer witnesses an abusive relationship between a young mother (Juno Temple) and her husband (Dean Winters). They have a young boy, Sam (Ryder Allen) who has "particular tastes," as he wears barrettes in his hair, dresses up in feminine clothes and is obsessed with one day becoming a princess.
After a series of circumstances, Palmer ends up being the only one around to look out for young Sam. The two learn a lot about each other, and the world around them, and...yaaaaaawwwwn.
"Palmer" just never takes off, and every beat it hits reeks of melodrama and familiarity. The viewer will be able to identify where this thing is going long before any of the participating characters, and where it lands ends up not being all that rewarding. Even the character of Palmer is thin, but that doesn't mean that Timberlake wastes it.
If nothing else, "Palmer" works as a good audition for future dramatic roles for the superstar talent.
Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes.
Starring: Justin Timberlake, June Squibb, Juno Temple, Dean Winters, Ryder Allen, Alisha Wainwright.
Directed by Fisher Stevens ("Stand Up Guys," "Just a Kiss").
"Palmer" is available exclusively on Apple TV+ on Friday, January 29th, 2021.
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