Trouble With the Curve (WB/Malpaso, 2012) Director: Robert Lorenz. Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, John Goodman, Chelcie Ross, Justin Timberlake.
Clint Eastwood, fresh off a command performance with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, stars as an aging baseball scout chasing one last recruit before being put out to pasture. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake co-star.
Gus Lobel (Eastwood) has made a career out of signing some of the hottest baseball talent known to the game. A widower who sent his six-year-old daughter off to live with relatives (almost 30 years ago) and then boarding school after the death of his wife, Gus has to cope with failing eyesight and the onslaught of technology as he tries to hang on for one more amateur draft. His latest signee is struggling in the minors as he chases the newest potential phenom around high school baseball fields in North Carolina.
Gus’ daughter Mickey (Adams) has grown up and become an up-and-coming corporate attorney, trying to become the youngest (and only female) partner in her law firm. She continues to work on a big company deal from afar as she takes off to look after her father on his recruiting trip at the urging of an old family friend. She becomes Gus’ eyes on the trip, using her own knowledge of the game to help her father and his evaluation.
Justin Timberlake, formerly of ‘N Sync, reprises his role of the empty chair at the RNC as a former pitcher turned scout who becomes Mickey’s love interest and Gus’ rival (though friendly) scout. As a matter of fact, Gus had signed Johnny “the Fireball” Flannigan (Timberlake) before he blew out his arm.
Gus can’t see anymore, yet he has to evaluate a young power hitter and make a recommendation to his team (the Braves) whether or not to sign him. Johnny’s team (the Red Sox) has the first pick in the draft which leads to him having to make a decision based on whether to trust Gus’ failing eyesight and their friendship, and Mickey’s knowledge of the game.
A drama, with some cute parts thrown in to keep it on the lighthearted side, the movie is predictable, which is not a bad thing in this case. Writer Randy Brown is a firm believer in foreshadowing and drops enough clues throughout the movie to bring us to a satisfying resolution.
The film, though about baseball, is not about baseball. It’s about relationships, which makes it a good picture for both guys and gals. It has enough baseball to keep the baseball fan interested and enough of the relationship angle to keep romantics at heart happy.
Eastwood does a great job playing a crotchety old man (maybe he’s not playing a role here) and Adams is excellent in her role as well. Timberlake, though I’ve enjoyed him in other movies, doesn’t offer anything in this project, seemingly, just going along for the ride. There is one scene involving Eastwood that actually brought a tear to my eye. Overall, it’s an excellent performance.
I give the movie an A-. It’s one that I will rent and watch again after it comes out on DVD. It may even make it to my collection.