Movie Review: TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood in “Trouble with the Curve”

Release date: September 21, 2012
Directed by: Robert Lorenz
Written by: Randy Brown
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard, Robert Patrick, Bob Gunton, Joe Massingill
Rating: PG-13; Running Time: 111 minutes

It’s not just the curve that’s problematic. Given the poor direction and halting script, Trouble with the Curve stops mere inches short of the foul line. There may be no crying in baseball, but as regards the word “trouble” (to borrow a lyric from The Music Man): Ya got Trouble right here in Clint City! With a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for … a Pitch that might have sounded good in a studio exec’s office but yikes, what a strike out.

While late September/early October usually delivers a baseball film that serves as a cinematic prelude to the World Series, the term “annual classic” certainly isn’t in play this season. Not even with such talent as Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman. Let’s face it: Moneyball it ain’t.

With Clint Eastwood’s longtime producer Robert Lorenz being called up to manage, er, direct this movie about an aging talent scout past his time and the fractious relationship with his ambitious workaholic daughter, Lorenz was behind in the count even before he started. Add to that a script by rookie writer Randy Brown, and it’s almost a crime that the actors were forced to take the field.

And yet, with seasoned filmmakers, this movie could have been a winner. Clint Eastwood plays the grizzled Gus, a timeworn baseball talent scout for the Atlanta Braves, whose eyesight is severely hampered by what might be an early onset of glaucoma. But he can’t afford to let the front office know, not with his contract about to expire and a high school batting phenom named Bo showing off his swing to any MLB scout with a checkbook, looking to be this season’s number one draft pick. It’s up to Gus to travel to North Carolina to assess the kid up close  – if only he could see. The Braves’ scout manager Pete (John Goodman) begs Gus’ daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to take a few days off from her high-powered law firm to rush out to North Carolina in order to help her old man out. High stakes being what they are, she’s about to be named the youngest partner at her firm – but if she leaves in the middle of her current case, her career may be jeopardized. Throw in a onetime pitcher (Justin Timberlake’s Johnny) who Gus previously scouted, who’s now temporarily taken up scouting in the hopes of jumpstarting a career as a sportscaster. Naturally, when Johnny meets Mickey, sparks ensue.

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