July 18, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

It was supposed to be his first big movie. Instead, Justin Timberlake’s Edison Force — a crime drama also starring Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, LL Cool J, Dylan McDermott, and the eternally youthful Cary Elwes — sneaks into stores (it was screened at Toronto in ’05, but got no U.S. distribution). It’s bad — you guessed that. So what’s everybody doing here? In a metro burg called Edison, J.T. plays a junior reporter (for a Jewish community newsletter!) who, with the help of his Pulitzer Prize-winning editor (Freeman), blows the lid off an elite squad of dirty cops. That the police unit is pricelessly called F.R.A.T. says a lot about the hammy (and sometimes unintentionally funny) way writer-director David J. Burke attempts his Big Statement about the rot that corrupts Everytown, USA (and Canada, too: The movie was obviously filmed in clean, green Vancouver). At least Freeman and Spacey (as a high-coiffed investigator) give reliable performances: Expect them to clean up at the DVDX (straight-to-DVD) Awards next year.

EXTRAS A perfunctory making-of doc; plus, a wide-screen option — kind of poignant on a direct-to-DVD movie, isn’t it?

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mpaa
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director
David J. Burke
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