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Why can’t Justin Timberlake get a hit?

Why can’t Justin Timberlake get a hit? (photo)

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Ben Stiller isn’t the only big name with a movie getting dumped this month. Next week, Anchor Bay Entertainment will unceremoniously release “The Open Road,” a dramedy starring Justin Timberlake as a minor league ballplayer trying to reconnect with his far more famous pop (Jeff Bridges) in order to fulfill his mother’s dying wish. Since Anchor Bay’s comparably well-promoted “Spread” with Ashton Kutcher tanked at the box office last weekend, they won’t probably waste any time whisking “The Open Road” in and out of theaters before an inevitable DVD release.

It’s unlikely Timberlake will shed any tears over this latest setback to his acting career, especially after his first big film role in “Edison Force” went straight to DVD and his second, “Alpha Dog,” sat on the shelf for a year as lawyers sought to prevent its release. Yet as his recently Emmy-nominated stint hosting “Saturday Night Live” proved, Timberlake’s troubles in the film business haven’t stemmed from a lack of trying. Like much of his film résumé, “The Open Road” probably seemed like good bet on paper — besides the opportunity to share the screen with Bridges, it was the directorial debut of Wim Wenders’ protégé Michael Meredith. But since wrapping production last year, it completely evaded the festival circuit, where Timberlake has often been well-received in features like Craig Brewer’s “Black Snake Moan” and Richard Kelly’s “Southland Tales,” even if the films themselves haven’t.

Such are the perils of a career plan built on attaining artistic credibility to separate oneself from a pop star persona. Timberlake reportedly was ready to scratch all that as one of the three finalists for the coveted role of Hal Jordan in the big-budget adaptation of “Green Lantern.” And these days, even established stars are having a hard time, as eBrooks Barnes reports in the New York Times this morning. In the wake of summer successes like “The Hangover,” a film that Todd Phillips had to make for a price in order to get the cast he wanted, the tried-and-true ways of moving up in star system are changing.

Just the other day, people were grousing about Jon Hamm’s decision to join the cast of Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch” and parlay his “Mad Men” success into a movie career. But would Hamm doing — to steal a phrase from Michael Atkinson — a “résumé indie,” the kind of down and dirty ensemble flick filled with familiar faces that populate film festivals these days, really be better for his career? We’ll stay tuned, but Hamm and Timberlake can both take comfort that it took 26 years for Donnie Yen to finally be appreciated as a big-screen draw in his native China. Then again, Timberlake always has a screen fallback…as an “SNL” host, if nothing else.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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