Northeast Times

Clint Eastwood has ‘Trouble With the Curve’

Amy Adams and Clint East­wood star in ‘Trouble With the Curve.’ It’s East­wood’s first act­ing per­form­ance since 2008.

Start­Frag­ment

East­wood’s latest (and last?) Curve­ball?

Fresh off his in­fam­ous con­ver­sa­tion with an empty chair at the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion a few weeks ago, Clint East­wood re­turns to movie theat­ers in Trouble With the Curve.

I, like many, thought East­wood re­tired from act­ing in 2008 after Gran Torino. That would have been a much bet­ter movie to com­plete his leg­acy. If East­wood re­turns to re­tire­ment and Trouble With the Curve winds up be­ing his last flick, he’ll go out with a whim­per as op­posed to the bang that was Gran Torino.

Trouble With the Curve also marks the first time East­wood hasn’t dir­ec­ted the flick he’s star­ring in since 1993’s In the Line of Fire. This time he pro­motes his long­time as­sist­ant dir­ect­or, Robert Lorenz, to the top spot.

Time cer­tainly seems to be on his side, since East­wood is still as spry as most folks would prob­ably hope to be at 82. In Trouble With the Curve, he’s Gus, the crotchety old guy (he sees no need to stray from what he does best) with fail­ing eye­sight. Gus is a highly re­garded base­ball scout for the At­lanta Braves, but now his de­clin­ing health has the cor­por­ate big­wigs ques­tion­ing some of his scout­ing opin­ions. He’s still an old-time sit-in-the-stands scout, while the young­er guys would much rather let a com­puter pro­gram guide their de­cisions.

Wid­owed at a young age, Gus is sort of es­tranged from his leg­al-eagle daugh­ter Mickey (Amy Adams), mean­ing they talk, but are not par­tic­u­larly close. She thought he deser­ted her after the mom died by send­ing her off to live with re­l­at­ives while he thought he was do­ing the best he could for her. Many years later, they have a re­la­tion­ship, but it’s tenu­ous at best.

Mickey gets a call from Gus’ long­time boss and friend Pete (John Good­man), who sug­gests that Mickey ac­com­pany Gus on his up­com­ing scout­ing trip of a hot pro­spect in North Car­o­lina. She’s per­petu­ally chained to her work, but pre­dict­ably, Mickey de­cides to go on the trip and fath­er/daugh­ter bond­ing en­sues.

Though it seems set up to fit the fall base­ball flick genre, the base­ball part of the movie seemed woe­fully un­der­writ­ten, es­pe­cially when com­pared to the much bet­ter Money­ball movie from last year. Gus doubts the abil­ity of the so-called top pro­spect Bo Gentry (Joe Mass­ingill) be­cause of his trouble hit­ting a curve ball, but aside from that, there really isn’t a whole lot of sports drama in this movie.

The script, writ­ten by Randy Brown, goes to great lengths to paint Mickey as a work­ahol­ic in At­lanta, so it’s no sur­prise when ro­mance blooms for her in North Car­o­lina. The ro­mance between Mickey and former play­er-turned-scout Johnny (Justin Tim­ber­lake) felt like an af­ter­thought. Ba­sic­ally, he was the only guy her age around, so it just seemed like the de­fault de­cision to stick them to­geth­er.

So what was this movie really about? More than any­thing it was tale of a fath­er and daugh­ter work­ing out the kinks in their past and com­ing to­geth­er for a har­mo­ni­ous fu­ture. East­wood and Adams share some nice, heart­warm­ing mo­ments, but ul­ti­mately the movie was a little too hum­drum and anti-cli­mactic to leave a last­ing im­pres­sion. ••

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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