At The Movies

Trouble with the Curve -No pop or zing, but fine all the same

At the Movies

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As sports movies go, this is not bad, but it is not a patch on Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby.” As Eastwood movies go, this one is not bad, but it is not a patch on “Gran Torino.” This is a solidly entertaining film about a cranky old baseball scout on his way to perhaps overdue retirement and his estranged daughter, a 32-year-old attorney on her way up. If Eastwood was not involved in the film, we would be able to better judge it on its own merits. Because he stars as the cranky scout, we expect — based on past experience — to see true blue movie magic. We get a very conventional, but worthy movie instead.

This is the first Eastwood film that he has not also directed in many years, and it shows. Robert Lorenz is a longtime film producer who has been involved in creating such successful recent Eastwood projects as “Gran Torino,” “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.” His relationship with Eastwood goes back decades. This is his first outing as a director.

But the lack of pop and zing this time can be laid at the feet of writer Randy Brown, also in his first time out. This is ordinary, predictable and verges on the pedestrian. This can also be said of the vast majority of sports films. It is in some measure the nature of the beast. Perhaps writer Brown and director Lorenz would have done better with a lesser luminary in the starring role. It surely would have lowered expectations.

Amy Adams plays the daughter with the right balance of fire and pathos. There is a sub-plot about her relationship with her dad, a single father after the sudden and early death of the wife and mother. It is not a happy relationship.

Her love interest is Justin Timberlake. I like Timberlake better and better every time I see him. I am still astonished that the boy band singer has so successfully transitioned to movie actor.

Eastwood, of course, is terrific. He is much less likeable than his character in “Gran Torino,” which fans will not like. But his portrayal is fine. Just remember that he didn’t write the way the character is, Randy Brown did. Eastwood just plays the role as written, and does that with excellence.

This is a three saw blade movie, acceptable in anyone except the larger than life movie gargantuan that post-retirement Eastwood has become.

It is rated PG-13 for some language issues and hinted at sex, but there are no naked people and no gory stuff. It runs an hour and 51 minutes.

I liked this movie just fine. There are enough clever and accurate references to aging to make it interesting to people my age and the father/daughter stuff is tragic and touching by turns. I think Payson will enjoy “Trouble with the Curve.”

Andy McKinney

Trouble with the Curve - Easy to watch, enjoyable

“Take me out to the ball game; take me out to the crowd.” Take me to see Clint Eastwood!

Clint Eastwood stars as Gus Lobel, an aging baseball scout who is losing his eyesight. He is sent on a scouting trip that may be his last, when his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), shows up to assist him.

The two have a very complex relationship, which is attributed to Gus’ wife dying when Mickey was six. The two are reluctantly traveling together at the wishes of one of Gus’ friends. The two are joined by another scout, the former baseball player, Johnny (Justin Timberlake), whom Gus had scouted earlier in his career. There is a subplot about the baseball player they have been sent to scout, but the main focus of the movie is about the relationship between Gus and Mickey.

“Trouble with the Curve” is a drama centered on the relationship between Gus and his daughter. While baseball is involved, that is not the point of the movie.

It’s very hard to go wrong when Clint Eastwood plays the lead role, and “Trouble with the Curve” is no exception. The acting and the interaction between characters was easily the best part of the whole movie. The two lead roles helped everything to flow and make sense. Eastwood and Adams worked well to help the audience understand the complexity of their father/daughter relationship.

This is Clint Eastwood’s first baseball movie, but it is similar to his recent streak of playing ornery old men. Amy Adams has played roles similar to her part as Mickey as well. It is not the first movie where she has been seen as a single, career-minded woman, who has a relationship problem with her father.

Justin Timberlake’s character, Johnny Flanagan, also played a role in contributing to the overall feel of the movie. Eastwood and Timberlake combined well to show how Gus genuinely cared for Johnny, a former baseball player that he had scouted. But there was also some good chemistry between Timberlake and Adams. It helped to keep the movie from being slow, added some light comedy, and helped to explain some of the complexity of the characters.

I found “Trouble with the Curve” easily watched and enjoyed. It has something in it for everyone. It has enough baseball for the sports enthusiast, enough action for the drama-lover, and it also has Clint Eastwood. I believe that all will enjoy it. The verdict is in: “Trouble with the Curve” is a home run.

Katie Schouten

Teen reviewer

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