In case you needed reminding, or if it wasn’t obvious by just looking at the man, Clint Eastwood is old. Yes, he’s 82 now, don’t ya know, and his newest film, the middling but likable Trouble with the Curve, which he actually did not direct, despite its ambling along like a typical Eastwood-directed flick, never lets us forget this fact.
Eastwood plays an aging (to put it mildly) Atlanta Braves scout who prefers his old-time scouting methods to the organization’s more modern ways. Eastwood’s good friend and co-worker (John Goodman) convinces Eastwood’s lawyer daughter (Amy Adams) to join her father on his latest scouting trip to North Carolina, where they cross paths with Justin Timberlake’s rival scout, a former player whom Eastwood himself discovered.
Among other problems, the script by Randy Brown is equal parts predictable and ridiculous. For the latter, while I admittedly don’t know how old scouts actually get, I can’t believe one would work into his early ‘80s. As well the idea that Eastwood’s scout, who is experiencing the onset of macular degeneration, can hear that a player can’t hit a certain type of pitch and pours through piles of newspapers rather than use a computer, seems too akin to Bill Paxton’s dirt-sifter in Twister.
As for predictable: Will Eastwood prove himself to the organization after years of poor picks? Will Adams not only repair her relationship with her dad, but want to give up the lawyer life? Will she and Timberlake fall for each other, encounter an obstacle, and still end up together? Will Matthew Lillard’s cartoonishly slick jerk of a Braves scout get his due? Will the pitching talents of the son of the owner of Eastwood’s favorite North Carolina motel be noticed?
What makes the movie likeable, then, aside from Robert Lorenz’s very leisurely directorial pace, are Eastwood and Adams. ‘Ol Clint, with his cranky manner and rasp of a voice, still has a respectable amount of screen presence. He proves a good sport at making fun of his age, be it simply trying to pee or back his classic Mustang out of the garage, and remains a solid dramatic force, in particular as he confesses to Adams why he sent her away when she was just a little girl.
Adams is just plain good. She’s beautiful, effortlessly conveys intelligence and easily fits in with the guys (her baseball-trivia contest with Timberlake is a highlight), but never in the annoyingly spunky way of lesser actresses. As for Timberlake, while he certainly tries, his slick-smart-aleck persona still registers and hurts him dramatically here. He should stick to comedies, while Goodman, who steals every scene he’s in, should just stick with continuing to give colorful character-actor performances. – [DVD] [Blu-Ray]
DVD Release Date: 12/18/12