Director: Robert Lorenz
Written by: Randy Brown
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake
Synopsis: An ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip.
“Trouble with the Curve” is said to be Clint Eastwood’s final film so it would seem fitting for it to have a slightly more jovial and humorous tone than his previous films. While films like “Million Dollar Baby” and “Hereafter” continue taking dramatic moments on a downward spiral, this film counters the depressing moments with equal moments of joy and laughter.
The overall story is very good and carries many side stories in an attempt to keep the audience engaged in the film. While there are many significant subplots within the film, there are too many to maintain enough focus and become engaged in these stories. One part of the plot that I would have liked to see further explored was the significance of a scout in the age of computers. It would have been interesting to see this film continue to go the opposite route of last year’s baseball film “Moneyball” and argue the significance of scouts versus statistical analysis. The relationships also suffered from a lack of attention. There was not enough time for the characters to develop so that the audience could get to know them and sympathize with their needs. Although many of the aspects of the plot were entertaining, I left the theater wanting to know more and pondering about what could have been further explored in the plot.
Like the plot, many of the character stories could have used a little more focus. Gus is a familiar character that we’ve seen Eastwood play many times. Gus was almost exactly like Eastwood’s character from “Gran Torino” with the only exception being a lack of racial slurs. Gus’ daughter Mickey (Adams) also played a generic role of a distant daughter who gets lost in her career. The developmental relationship between Gus and Mickey was entertaining and the chemistry between Eastwood and Adams in these roles was very fluid and natural as they seemed to balance one another by essentially combining the new with the old. The on screen chemistry begins to fade when a younger scout named Johnny (Timberlake) is introduced. Justin Timberlake did not fit into this role and his dialogue felt rushed as if he were reading a cue card. His chemistry with Amy Adams felt so unnatural and forced that I believe it actually made her seem like a bad actress during those scenes. Some actors just don’t mesh well on screen but I think Timberlake didn’t mesh with this film, I didn’t find his character interesting in the least and as previously stated, he wasn’t believable in the role. If his screen time would have been significantly reduced, I think the film could have been much better and a lot less generic. John Goodman, Matthew Lillard, and Robert Patrick all had minimal screen time but were significant to the film and Justin Timberlake’s character deserved no more time than them. The film should have followed the flow of the trailer and focused on two things, the relationship between Gus and his daughter, and the evolution of the scouting process and how Gus remains significant.
Overall I would say that the film was enjoyable but the story was lacking. There are so many side stories within the film that it is hard to connect with the significant story lines that build the main plot. If the focus would have remained on the development of Eastwood and Adams’ characters and their relationship to baseball scouting, this film could have been absolutely amazing. Instead the film consistently leaves and returns focus from the main plot which disconnects the audience from the film and makes them have to remember where they left off. Although the story is lacking, it follows a generic story that people may still find enjoyable although predictable.
Trouble with the Curve – 6.0 out of 10.
A potentially great story that lacks development