If you’re looking to satisfy a Clint Eastwood movie craving, plus a need to watch America’s pastime, then the new movie “The Trouble With the Curve” is for you.
In it, Eastwood plays a respected but stuck-in-his-old-ways baseball scout who is having a lot of trouble adjusting to the fact that his age is starting to show and affect his job performance. This is the Eastwood-as-an-ornery-curmudgeon that America has seemed to embrace, along with a dash of sweetness from Amy Adams who plays his frustrated daughter and levity from Justin Timberlake, who plays a former player-turned-scout.
The critical masses are not overwhelmingly charmed by this combination, aside from the appeal of Eastwood, and the film is currently sitting with a “Rotten” rating over at Rotten Tomatoes.
Without further ado, let’s get ready to play ball as we bat through the “Trouble with the Curve” reviews:
“This antediluvian baseball drama stars Clint Eastwood as a washed-up scout, Gus, and Amy Adams as Mickey, the daughter who reluctantly teams up with him. The director was Robert Lorenz, who has worked with Mr. Eastwood since the mid-1990s as a producer, an assistant director or both. It’s his debut feature, and bush league almost all the way, a lifeless rendering of an amateurish script (by Randy Brown) that covers some of the same ground as ’Moneyball’ — old-fashioned intuition versus newfangled number-crunching — but covers it from some time warp where audiences still enjoy declamatory acting, mawkish sentiments and wheezy editing.” — Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
Eastwood As MVP
“Even the Man With No Name can change his mind, and a good thing too. Clint Eastwood told the world he was finished with acting after 2008’s ’Gran Torino,’ but ’Trouble With the Curve’ has lured him in front of the camera one more time. This amiable, old-fashioned film is no world-beater, but it underlines why, appearances with empty chairs excepted, it is always a pleasure to see this man on the screen. … It is not only the 82-year-old Eastwood’s gift for making acting look relaxed and natural that stands out here, it is how unusual it is for Hollywood to place someone with more lines than the DMV front and center in a major motion picture. Audiences lose a significant part of the human experience when filmmakers shy away from portraying this stage of life, though it does take someone of Eastwood’s clout to make it happen.” — Kenneth Turan The Los Angeles Times
The Supporting Players
“As Gus’s estranged, go-getter daughter, Mickey, who risks a big law-firm promotion to help her dad through a bout with glaucoma, Amy Adams brings a breath of life while gamely delivering limp dialogue, doing her best to bail out a sinking ship in a way not seen since ’Cruel Intentions 2.’ As Johnny Flanagan, a high-school-phenom-turned-baseball-scout-slash-aspiring-announcer, Justin Timberlake seems thrilled to be on board, but his boyish enthusiasm offers mere moments of relief. Most often, ’Trouble with the Curve’ is fixed on the reward-free taming of an old beast, the slow cracking of his hard shell coinciding with his victory over one-dimensional villains (as a hollowly cutthroat hotshot who swears by the Moneyball method, Matthew Lillard is the Dennis to Gus’s Mr. Wilson).” — R. Kurt Osenlund, Slant
The Baseball Movie Metaphor
“The trouble with baseball movies like ’Trouble With the Curve’ is that they tempt reviewers to reach for hackneyed sports metaphors. I’m only human, but I’m also not sure which comparison best suits this easygoing, unsurprising movie, directed by Robert Lorenz from a script by Randy Brown. Regrettably, it is not a home run or a perfect game, but it isn’t a wild throw, an errant bunt or a dropped fly ball either. ’Trouble With the Curve’ is either an off-speed pitch that just catches the edge of the strike zone or a bloop single lofted into right field. The runner is safe. The movie is too. Crack open a peanut and flag down the beer guy.” — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
The Final Score
“Of course the movie is sentimental. A fairy tale? Yes, it’s that too. Satisfying? Yep. The key, I think, is the restaurant scene between Adams and Eastwood where she confronts him about how she was, and wasn’t, raised by Gus. It’s played by both actors with minimal fuss and maximum honesty. I wish the film had the guts to leave Gus’ failings be; the script takes an easier way out by hanging his actions on a long-ago incident, alluded to throughout, in eerie flashbacks recalling Eastwood’s own ’Mystic River’ and ’Changeling.’ Often a movie’s attempt to rationalize a tough character ends up softening him in untruthful ways. That said, you don’t go to ’Trouble With the Curve’ for a heavy dose of truth. You go for a little truth, and a little baseball, and the soothing reminder that things sometimes change for the better.” — Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Trouble With the Curve.”.