Trouble With the Curve is emotional and fulfilling, with some unneeded foolishness

Clint Eastwood in "Trouble With the Curve"

‘Trouble With the Curve’ is an engaging movie with some unnecessary subplots and characters that keep it from hitting a home run.


Is there anything more precious than a young boy’s love of baseball? Well, of course, but don’t tell that to some people I know. After all, what about the connection between a father and his daughter? Or surrogate son/protege?

Trouble with the Curve tells the story of Gus (Clint Eastwood), an aging talent scout for the Atlanta Braves who’s struggling to retain his relevance. He also has a daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams) — you can probably guess why he named her that if you know baseball — who’s a lawyer working hard for a partnership at her firm. She just needs to land that one big case. As for Gus, his own job may be in jeopardy, threatened by relative youngster Philip Sanderson (Matthew Lillard, who’s 42, so he seems young in comparison), who uses the mysterious Evil Computer to find and evaluate talent without ever seeing them in person. Poor Gus just may not be able to keep up, with his failing vision and hatred of the Evil Computer and various Evil Electronic Ilk.

But good ol’ Gus still has a few tricks up his sleeve — his years of experience have given him uncanny abilities for scouting. He plans to look at a rising star in North Carolina, Bo Gentry (Joe Massingill), to prove he’s still got it. Mickey is convinced by Gus’ friend (John Goodman) to go along and ensure Gus will stay safe. Even though she still needs to land that big case! Naturally, father and daughter have been estranged for a long time, and have a lot to learn about themselves and each other. A classic sort of “road” movie with a few evil villains (Philip, that computer, maybe an overly cocky baseball star) and a sparkling conflict between a crusty old man who doesn’t want to change and his ambitious daughter who’s putting her own career on hold for him.

There’s honesty and emotional baggage aplenty in the eyes of Adams and Eastwood, and Timberlake just has a big ol’ smirk.

Oh, wait… there’s also this wholly unnecessary romantic subplot with Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), a young scout who was a former player scouted by Gus himself, but had a bad injury. Considering that Mickey looks like Amy Adams and has an engaging personality, Johnny can’t help but find her fascinating. What she sees in him, I can’t imagine. Sure, there’s the parallel to Gus and his old school ways, but let’s be honest here — Justin Timberlake can be a decent actor, but he doesn’t hold a candle to these two. There’s honesty and emotional baggage aplenty in the eyes of Adams and Eastwood, and Timberlake just has a big ol’ smirk. Those evil villains seem a bit silly and feel thrown in, because someone didn’t think the relationship between the two main characters was interesting enough. There’s a great movie here, with some unnecessary padding, so if you can get past that … it’s a home run (eh?).

But only if you can ignore a few foul balls.


Photo Credit: Warner Bros

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