Movie Review: “Trouble With The Curve” – Nothing But a Predictable Toss

Written by Spencer Sterritt September 30, 2012

For a comeback movie, Clint Eastwood certainly could have done a lot better. All of the gravitas he acquired in “Million Dollar Baby” and “Gran Torino” are wasted in “Trouble With The Curve,” his first appearance in front of the camera since 2008. The acting in this picture is enough to keep a casual watcher entertained, but there are enough distractions with the story to keep everyone else away.

“Trouble With The Curve” follows Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood), an aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves. Shocker of all shockers he’s a cantankerous old man who swears and drinks and has a strained relationship with anyone born after 1980. Amy Adams plays his daughter Mickey, who tags along with Gus to make sure that he’s doing alright. They find themselves bonding and arguing while in town to scout some high school teams, all while Justin Timberlake flits around the edges of the story as another baseball scout.

I dare you to find a more predictable plot.

A Few Good Hits…

To be fair, “Trouble With The Curve” does have some very bright spots, all shining from the three lead actors. Clint Eastwood plays to his strengths and it comes across well, giving every line and movement a hard worn weariness, even as lines veer wildly from banal to cringe inducing. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake keep up admirably, and when all three of them assemble, the film finds its groove. Generally the cast around them does an admirable job, especially John Goodman who has quite the kickin moustache.

 …But A No Run Game

All of that star-power keeps “Trouble With The Curve” out of a lot of the cliches that you would find in a feel good drama such as this, but it still falls into a few. Really the biggest problem is that you never really get a firm grip on Clint Eastwood or Amy Adams, and why they’re so damn miserable. The film does nothing more than take their stereotypes at face value and roll with them, never taking anything more than a superfluous dive into their back story.

The tone is all over the place as well, crashing between charming and crabby at a moments notice. Sometimes Clint and Amy will be getting along admirably, sharing a couple laughs, and then the next scene they’re getting into an emotional tizzy (or at least as much of a tizzy as Clint Eastwood can get into). With all of this emotional flip flopping the film never gets a chance to establish any real emotional stakes. Combined with the flat characters, the film never gains any traction or interest.

A Crazy Curve Ball

However, as “Trouble With The Curve” plodded into the final fifteen minutes, something remarkable happened. Not remarkably good mind you, but remarkably bad. The good performances kept “Trouble With The Curve” on it’s feet for the first 5/6, but then WHOOP the film trips and hits every step on the staircase of cliches. These include but are not limited to 1) Justin Timberlake randomly coming back after a fight  2) Clint Eastwood humiliating the young obnoxious guy 3) Amy Adams making irrational but feel good decisions and 4) a deep emotional talk about what the game really means.

Though buoyed by some zesty performances “Trouble With The Curve” can’t get a firm grip on its script. Anything more than a casual fan of Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, or good old Justin Timberlake will be aggravated by the wayward pace and the terrible last fifteen minutes. Now that’s having real trouble with the curve.

My Rating: 6/10

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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