It’s been 19 years since Clint Eastwood has starred in a film he didn’t also direct. That’s a surprising fact for an actor whose legend is as big as that of the man who portrayed Dirty Harry and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Without directing his own movie, could Clint Eastwood continue to deliver the type of performance consistent with that caliber of legend? He certainly gives it all here with a very good performance, but some legends are just too much to overcome.Trouble With The Curve is a solid outing, and even though Clint Eastwood hasn’t been in that many movies since 1993, he doesn’t show a single bit of rust as he steps up to the plate and attempts to knock one out of the park.
Gus (Eastwood) is a senior scout for the Atlanta Braves. He’s had a storied career, and has found some of the greatest talents in the game of baseball throughout his many years around the game. He exhibits an understanding of the game that very few can even comprehend. He knows when a struggling hitter just needs a visit from his parents, and he does it all with his eyes and not with the use of today’s technology. He’s getting up in years though, and his eyesight is about to go bad, and when the Braves have a high draft pick, it’s up to Gus to tell them whether or not the player they’ve been targeting is worthy of their attention. His degenerating eyesight though hasn’t gone unnoticed by his best friend and Braves director of scouting, Pete Klein (John Goodman) and he enlists the help of Gus’s daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to help him on this scouting trip.
There isn’t anything too original about the film overall. Father and daughter don’t have the strongest relationship, despite the fact that there is obviously unconditional love between the two. Along the way, there is a charming scout, played by Justin Timberlake, that occupies the attention of Mickey while she’s trying to strengthen her relationship with her father. The beats are familiar and easily predictable. Trouble With the Curve is still incredibly charming though. Driven by strong performances from all of the main cast involved, including small bit players like Matthew Lillard as the hotshot computer toting scout who doesn’t even bother to actually watch players play.
Clint Eastwood’s performance is reminiscent of his role from Gran Torino. He knows he’s old, and he’s angry at everything, and it’s all charming in it’s own endearing way. He’s slightly less racist in Curve though, which makes his role a little more tolerable. The happier moments he shares with his daughter are heartwarming and only add to the charm of the film. Justin Timberlake continues to prove that he’s an incredibly capable actor on screen, it almost shouldn’t even be a surprise anymore he’s so consistent with his performances on screen.
As a sports movie, it leaves a lot to be desired. There isn’t as much on-field action as there appears to be from trailers, and some of the players in general don’t exhibit a lot of skill despite the attention being lavished upon them by professional Major League Baseball scouts.
Trouble with the Curve is a more than solid effort. If it didn’t have such strong performances it might not even be worth seeing in theaters, but that’s how good they are. Eastwood, Adams, and Timberlake manage to do a lot on screen with the little that must have been presented to them on paper with the script. As far as sports dramas go, there are better ones out there, but if you’re looking for a good performance driven drama and you like your Eastwood ornery, Trouble with the Curve might just be a hit with you.
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