Review of Trouble with the Curve

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An aging baseball scout (played by Clint Eastwood) with failing sight hits the road with his estranged daughter to pursue a promising young ballplayer, and the two learn just how much they have in common as they make their way from Georgia to North Carolina for what could be his last recruiting trip. Produced and directed by Robert Lorenz, this 2012 sports drama also stars Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard & Joe Massingill.
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Life is all about curveballs. For example, no one expected Clint Eastwood to debate an empty chair at the RNC. Likewise no one expected his first acting role since 2008’s Grand Torino to be in something so draggy and lightweight as “Trouble with the Curve.”

He plays Gus, a walking old-guy cliché. Growling, stubborn, and constantly agitated (look out furniture), he’s a baseball talent scout who hates the fact that computers are taking over his business. He also happens to be going blind, a worrisome fact to his lawyer daughter Mickey (Amy Adams), a baseball-savant herself who harbors resentment towards her father for his abandonment during her childhood. Despite her workaholic ways, she agrees to take care of him during a scouting trip to Carolina, where she meets Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), a former player turned scout for a rival team who lobbies for her affections.

“Curve” lets you know right from the start that it just wants to be a predictable, non-threatening hallmark movie. It’s not a very deep father-daughter drama. There’s one heavy plot point which is quickly forgotten by the next scene, while other lesser problems that exist between them seem to just dissolve by movie’s happy end. There are some crabby laughs (Gus and buddies play a game where pissing each other off is the objective) but not so much to really call it a comedy. As Mickey manages to cut-loose with Flanagan, there is a likable chemistry there that you wish you could see more of.

And so it comes down to Eastwood, nicely playing a man who can’t accept his own frailty, and Adams, tomboyish and carrying the hurt of a neglected childhood, and they hit the only real home runs here. Timberlake is fine when not called upon to be an annoying sitcom-like comic relief role. Otherwise this is a movie about people talking and bonding over baseball. It’s fine, but a little bit too forgettable to recommend.