Clint Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout in 'Trouble With The Curve'
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The stars: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake
The story: A grumpy, old baseball scout, Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood), goes to North Carolina in search of young talent to save his baseball team, Atlanta Braves, and to prove to his slimy colleagues that his failing health does not affect his ability to sniff out good baseball. His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) accompanies him on this trip – albeit grudgingly – to repair her broken relationship with her father, despite being in the midst of making partner at her law firm. They meet Johnny Flannigan (Justin Timberlake) – a scout from the Boston Red Sox, who later wins the heart of poor, troubled Mickey.
inSing.com says: Having Clint Eastwood in a movie could compel almost anyone to go see it – even for those uneducated in the classic all-American game of baseball (don’t worry, you’re not the only one who struggled through ‘Moneyball’). Ebenezer Scrooge – is what his character might as well have been. A grouchy, grumpy and gruffly old man (a la ‘Grand Torino’) who’s managed to push everyone, including his dejected daughter, away with his stubborn, hardass ways. His acting was stellar, as expected of the Academy Award-winning 82-year-old actor and director (‘Million Dollar Baby’) – and probably saved the movie from becoming a huge cheese fest about a girl with daddy issues.
To be honest, in some ways it actually kind of was. Director Robert Lorenz barely brushed the politics and complexities of managing a professional baseball team, and cashed in on the whole father-daughter reconciliatory drama assumedly to garner more mainstream appeal. He succeeded on all counts, of course – but resulted in a happily-ever-after, do-the-right-thing-type package which might be too bland and unsophisticated for those with sharper filmbuds.
Amy Adams, even with the help of the occasional black blazer, could not quite pull off the soulless, married-to-her-job attorney role. Rather, the wounded and “emotionally unavailable” daughter proved a better fit. Seeing that she plays a damaged young woman who is more committed to her job than her relationships, who other than Justin Timberlake to be the handsome exception to her rule? What better way to explain the genesis of a broken family than a couple of childhood flashbacks? How else to end the movie than with one breathtaking kiss?
Don’t get us wrong, the movie was good – the father-daughter chemistry between Eastwood and Adams was thoroughly irresistible and fun to watch. Even the on-screen romance between Adams and Timberlake was enjoyable, albeit predictable. Basically, we liked that Lorenz made the film so accessible, and its characters so relatable, too. Let’s face it – the movie was not about the baseball. By the end of the show, we still weren’t exactly sure what a “curve ball” was – but it really didn’t matter.