<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Robert Lorenz. Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard.
He plays the crotchety old geezer with consummate ease now. You saw it in Gran Torino and you’ll see it pretty much the same here in Trouble With The Curve. Clint Eastwood doing what he does best in a film that’s sweet but exceedingly cliché and formula.
Eastwood plays Gus Lobel, a baseball scout (they go for minor league baseball matches and watch who to select for major league games, sorta like talent hunters), has been using his keen intellect about the sport and his intuition for nearly a hundred years (of course I exaggerate). Now he’s doddering around, barely able to see, alienating some of his colleagues who want him out, and pushing his estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) even further away. In what is supposed to be his final mission to find the right player for the Atlanta Braves, Gus must try not to screw it all up. His buddy Pete (John Goodman) asks daughter Mickey – who has grown up with baseball but has rather chosen a career in law – to go help out dad and see that he doesn’t stumble.
So of course dear Mickey ditches her very important case work and a chance at becoming partner in her law firm to go help out dad to maybe get him to open up to her about why he left her after her mom died. The father-daughter duo has a bittersweet relationship going on here, which is the interesting dynamic in the film. The other relationship is between Mickey and young scout Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake) who used to be a baseball pro but after an injury is planning to turn scouting into becoming a commentator. He takes a liking to young Mickey and Gus and a small town story just barely comes alive.
Trouble With The Curve isn’t really about baseball and the obvious face off it propagates with another film called Moneyball, which was about computers picking baseball talent. With Eastwood around it’s usually about making a comment or statement and human interplay and banter about the human condition. Unfortunately, you don’t really get any real message out of it all apart from Mickey’s constant and rude use of her Blackberry reminding all you BB users to fucking put the phone down! And unlike Gus in the movie, you come home wondering if it isn’t time for good ol’ Clint to hang up his baseball mitt.
Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are devoid of any chemistry whatsoever. They look like brother and sister in the film so the romance angle isn’t what’ll get you to like this film. It’s just the formula reclusive dad turns in to daughter’s idol finally and they all live happily ever after story with some funny moments peppered in. Director Robert Lorenz (who has assisted Clint Eastwood when he was directing his movies) has probably played it safe for his directorial debut.