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“Trouble with the Curve” follows an ailing baseball scout (Clint Eastwood) who takes his daughter (Amy Adams) on one final recruiting trip. Directed by first timer Robert Lorenz, John Goodman and Justin Timberlake also star as fellow scouts.
This is Eastwood’s first on-screen appearance since 2008’s “Gran Torino”, but the man has not lost a step. While he basically growls all his lines and literally looks like a skeleton, he still delivers a likeable performance as Gus, a scout for the Atlanta Braves, who is losing his eyesight. He also proves in one scene that he is still a tough guy, as he breaks a beer bottle and threatens to beat up a man half his age if he gets near his daughter, played by the lovely Amy Adams, ever again.
Speaking of Adams, she plays Gus’ daughter, Mickey (named after Mickey Mantle) and you can tell the relationship between her and her father is strained to say the least. Despite being in a hunt for a partnership at her law firm, she follows her dad to North Carolina to scout what some are calling “the next Albert Pujols”. Adams is at the top of her game here (no baseball pun intended) and an Academy Award nomination wouldn’t be too much out of the question. She is witty and charming all at the same time and she also has some emotional deliveries, too. The chemistry between Adams and Eastwood as well as with Timberlake is really well done, and it is fun to watch.
What is holding “Curve” back from being a great sports film, however, are the side plots. I really didn’t care about Timberlake’s crush on Adams, and there is one little surprise at the end that the filmmakers inserted in simply to kind of make you hate the film’s antagonist (Matthew Lillard, who plays a younger scout who relies on computers) even more.
“Trouble with the Curve” is not a homerun like last year’s “Moneyball” (baseball pun intended), and despite showing flashes of that film, I don’t think it ever tried. “Curve” has exhilarating moments of what goes behind the scenes in baseball drafts, as well as a few funny one liners, mostly about Eastwood’s age or sarcastic remarks by Timberlake. You can tell that the actors had a fun time making this movie and that the filmmakers really care about the game of baseball, and that fun and love rubs off onto the audience. It is not a homerun, but “Curve” is a solid hit up the middle.