Trouble With The Curve
- Starring: Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino), Amy Adams (The Fighter), John Goodman (The Artist), Justin Timberlake (The Social Network) and more.
- Directed by: Robert Lorenz (Directorial debut. Lorenz was 2nd Assistant Director for Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Space Cowboys, etc.)
- Synopsis: “Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) has been one of the best scouts in baseball for decades, but, despite his efforts to hide it, age is starting to catch up with him. Nevertheless, Gus—who can tell a pitch just by the crack of the bat—refuses to be benched for what could be the final innings of his career…The one person who might be able to help is also the one person Gus would never ask: his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams)…Against her better judgment, and over Gus’s objections, Mickey joins him on his latest scouting trip to North Carolina, jeopardizing her own career to save his.” (-Collider)
- Rated: Rated PG13 for language and thematic material.
The Oakland A’s had their own movie last year (Moneyball) with Brad Pitt that received six Oscar nominations…so, Clint Eastwood decided to do a similar thing with the Atlanta Braves. 😉 I may end up eating my words here (though I doubt it), but expect no such nominations for Trouble With The Curve.
There is something in this movie for non-baseball fans. Whether it be Clint Eastwood’s familiar grunting/grumpy/cussing caricature, or Amy Adams’ nigh-perfect and amazing hair, or Justin Timberlake’s car…but there’s not much more to look forward to in this all too predictable by-the-numbers drama that was neither written or directed by the famous white-haired star of the film.
Eastwood appropriately plays the very grumpy baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves whose daughter (Adams) and friend (Goodman) put more of a vested interest into his continuance as the scout for the Braves than seemingly he himself. Though, at times, his grunts and mini-tantrums grow to be annoying, Eastwood worked well with the material given and allows for his aging character, Gus, to grow and develop to the expected level by the final inning of the film. Gus’ struggle with the effects of aging and personal relationship skills is poignantly pointed out and allows for greater relatability. His estranged relationship with his daughter Mickey (Adams)…and every other person in his life ends up as the major focus of the film with baseball as its running subplot.
My largest complaint with Lorenz’s first attempt at the director’s helm is the pacing. Slow and steady may win the race, but not necessarily baseball movies. The film moves with very little urgency (much like watching a baseball game on television as opposed to a live attendance), and, to mix it up, it adds a few additional dramatic elements that are either forgettable or forced…or possibly both.
One element that did work well for the film was the cast in and of itself: Adams, Goodman, Eastwood, Timberlake. All, (except for the latter), do well in their roles and portraying their characters. Timberlake, whose acting I have defended in times past, exercises very little effort in a role highly reminiscent of numerous others of his and thereby gains little credence. BUT, it can be argued that Eastwood and Goodman do the EXACT same thing in this film.
That’s the main trouble with Trouble With The Curve. It is too familiar, predictable, forgettable, and mediocre. There’s not enough baseball in it to call it a “baseball movie”, there’s not enough personal development to call it a bio-pic, and there’s not enough drama in it to really classify it as such. It’s just…there.
When I left the theater, I felt like there should have been an umpire there yelling “SAFE” when I got home after seeing/surviving this film that barely qualifies to be referred to as an “Eastwoodian” movie.
If Eastwood always “knocks it out of the park” to you, then “take a swing” at this movie. But, rest assured, I pretty much “covered all the bases” of what to expect. I’d wait to “steal” away to the theaters to see this one if I were you and watch it on Netflix on a day when all the other baseball games on tv are too boring (oh, wait! That means you can watch it ANY time there’s a baseball game on tv!)
I’m sorry, but this one’s OUT!
Score: 1.5 out of 5 stars for Trouble With The Curve
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer