Palmer. Apple TV + (Quick Review.)

Have you ever seen a film it has all the right intentions? It may possess strong enough elements that you can’t say it’s not worth peoples time. However, these qualities aren’t enough to raise it above mediocre. Palmer is a recent poster child for this. It stars Justin Timberlake as an ex-con. After 10 years in prison through a series of events ends up taking care of an eccentric little boy ( Ryder Allen ) Assuming viewers have seen enough films variations on that premise aren’t hard to find. Palmer wants to stand out by adopting a decidedly R rated slightly grittier take on a very conventional story structure. Timberlake’s central performance is terrific. He is riding the line between hard-edged and empathetic very effectively. The bond between him and Ryder Allen is very well sold. There are potentially interesting ways from makers could have implemented an Everybody’s Talking About Jamie style acceptance narrative for a much younger child. So why does the whole thing feel like the creative team have constructed an emotional barrier between the narrative and the audience? Ultimately the tone is extremely middlebrow and comes across as nothing more than Instant Family for the #filmtwitter crowd. Granted there are ways to do this exact narrative where things are so cheesy it becomes insufferable. That said Instant Family shows there is an argument for having some cheesier elements well also not dodging potentially serious discussions. Palmer desperately wants to connect with a broad audience. Ultimately it’s far too obsessed with selling viewers on its sense of perceived “grittiness” to do so. It doesn’t offer any original spin on a very well worn narrative. It tries to establish credibility while still playing out the beets of a very basic structure. There’s enough quality in Timberlake’s performance and some decent ideas to not make the film entirely worthless. It’s just a shame that the clear positive intentions that come across within the narrative and from the filmmakers come across as rather generic in the final product.

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