All News & Blogs
'Trouble With the Curve' stars John Goodman, Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood.
Visit the Photo Place
BY ROGER MOORE
McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
"Trouble With the Curve" is a baseball dramedy that telegraphs its pitches, an amiable, meandering character study whose big plot points hang there like the curveballs of its title.
We see them coming a long time before they cross the plate.
It has the faded twinkle of late-period Clint Eastwood, rasping through another curmudgeon role--embracing, one more time, his role as America's Coot.
The film has its charm, but it's neither as graceful nor as spare as a movie Eastwood himself would have directed.
Clint plays a chatty old cuss named Gus Lobel, legendary scout for the Atlanta Braves. His boss (John Goodman) ticks off the superstars he discovered and insists "Gus could spot talent from an airplane."
But America's Team's greatest scout is an anachronism, a "feel" and "sound" guy in an age of computer-accessible statistics. And he's losing his sight. The new punk in the clubhouse (Matthew Lillard of "The Descendants") wants him put out to pasture.
Gus has an ambitious, flinty and blunt daughter (Amy Adams), a 33-year-old lawyer not unlike him.
She's gunning for partnership in an Atlanta firm, has ambivalent (at best) feelings for the old man, but is somehow cajoled into joining Gus for one last spring scouting trip to the Carolinas. That feels contrived because it is.
Justin Timberlake is a former Gus discovery now working as a scout for another organization. Bob Gunton and Ed Lauter are among the cadre of aged scouts Gus considers peers.
And Joe Massingill is the brawny braggart of a high school power hitter that they're up there to watch.
Eastwood the director would have slashed a lot of Gus' dreary old-guy-out-of-touch-with-the-"Interwebs" jokes, his retire and "play bingo, drinking little umbrella drinks" cracks. It takes one scene to establish the prospect they're scouting as a boor with no respect for the game. A single bar visit with "the gang" of scouts would establish their cliched characters.
But Randy Brown's script revisits the bars, the jerk-kid, time and again. It shows us more games than we need to see. It underlines "foreshadowing" with a magic marker, adds "big secrets" to relationships and shoehorns in sentimental slop.
It goes on and on, establishing the obvious, then underlining the obvious with Robert Lorenz's leisurely direction.
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE
STARRING: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman
CREDITS: Directed by Robert Lorenz, written by Randy Brown. A Warner Brothers release, Running time: 1:51
RATED: PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material and smoking
THEATERS: Fredericksburg 14, Aquia 10, Marquee Cinemas