Trouble with the Curve
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake
Directed by Robert Lorenz
Boy…Clint Eastwood’s new movie Trouble With the Curve played to a lot of empty chairs at the screening I went to (hee hee)…yeah…nothing…not funny? Well, while I work on my comedy routine let’s talk about this light as a feather, almost stings like a bee of a film. Even though Clint Eastwood made the assertion that his acting days were over after Gran Torino, seeing the guy back on the big screen is a comforting feeling. True, he’s never reinvented the wheel when it came to acting prowess, but the man has such a demeanor and likable charm that you can’t help but feel as though the world will be alright as long as he’s around. Trouble with the Curve’s otherwise paint within the lines story is elevated just because of the guy who once made two movies with a chimpanzee that went by the name of Clyde.
This movie is the anti-Moneyball; taking the ethos set forth by Billy Beane of the Oakland A’s and squashing it into the ground. This movie is also about fractured relationships and realizing your own mortality in a game where doing what you do is slowly becoming extinct. Why go to a game to scout a player when stats in a computer program can tell you everything you need to know?
Eastwood plays Gus; a legendary scout for the Atlanta Braves that, despite his stubbornness, is nearing the end of the line in his career. His eyes are failing him; his most recent players that he scouted and recommend are turning out to be duds. This isn’t lost on the Braves organization, which are inches away from letting Gus go. But Peter Klein (John Goodman) who is the director of scouting and one of Gus’ biggest supporters makes sure he gets one more shot to scout one of the hottest prospects to come around in a long while.
Peter though, fearing that Gus will blow this assignment, asks his daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to join him. But Mickey and Gus have a relationship that is built on guilt and abandonment. Reluctantly she agrees, putting her chances of becoming a partner of an Atlanta law firm on the line.
Trouble with the Curve’s strengths comes from the acting. And with a movie that everyone watching can see the plot movements two steps ahead of the actual film, you need the acting to really sell it and for the most part it does. Amy Adams in particular, really does a nice job with the role of Mickey. The scenes involving her and Eastwood as they try and sort out their relationship are convincing. Even Justin Timberlake, as a former ball player, once scouted by Gus, now a scout himself and later a love interest for Mickey, turns in a good performance.
Eastwood’s gruff old man archetype isn’t as good here as it was in Gran Torino or say Million Dollar Baby, but I enjoyed it, just like I enjoyed Space Cowboys or those movies with Clyde. Its Clint light, but it’s still worth the price of a matinee.
One more note, I wish Trouble with the Curve would have done a little bit more with the baseball side of things, it’s a minor gripe, but it would’ve been fun to see Eastwood’s Gus actually scout a player, instead of him telling you about scouting a player. It’s those little details that can elevate your movie from the minors to the majors.