Film Review: Clint Eastwood Whiffs in ‘Trouble with the Curve’
CHICAGO – Clint Eastwood keeps going and going. His reputation as an actor is secure in a long career, and his power as a director is Oscar worthy. His ability to recognize a limp script? Not so much, if “Trouble with the Curve” is a gauge. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake are along for the pitch.
There is nothing new in this baseball-as-a-metaphor-for-life theme, which had the door closed on it in last year’s superior “Moneyball.” This film mines the same territory, this time the player development is with the Atlanta Braves. Eastwood is a scout rather than a baseball executive, and he has an old school attitude towards the game. He would have been one of the gray beards at the conference table in “Moneyball,” as the modern game passes him by. “Trouble with the Curve” belongs in the studio era of the 1940s, with its simple relationships, stilted dialogue and who-is-right-in-the-end predictability.
Gus (Eastwood) was a superstar scout, signing some of the top talent in the Atlanta Braves organization over the years. The new management team has a different idea about the scouting approach, using statistics and computer models, but Gus won’t bite. The pressure from the top gets more intense, and the General Manager’s assistant (Mattew Lillard) is calling for Gus to retire. Even the Head of Scouting, Pete Klein (John Goodman), is having problems protecting his friend.
Gus is keeping a secret, his eyesight is fading. When Pete discovers this, he begs the scout’s estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to accompany him on an important scouting trip. She is a high-powered lawyer, and risks her position in the firm to join Gus down South to see a prospect. Father and daughter need to work out some issues, even as a rival Boston Red Sox scout named Johnny (Justin Timberlake) starts to woo the fair Mickey.
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures