Movie Review: Trouble with the Curve
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 23:09
“Get outta here before I have a heart attack trying to kill you,” Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) snarls to a drunken pool player. Lesson learned? You don’t hit on Clint Eastwood’s daughter. Ever. Whether he’s scaring neighbors off his lawn, drifting through the high plains or taking the law into his own hands, the legendary Clint Eastwood has carved his cinematic legacy by playing pissed-off characters.
“Trouble with the Curve” is no different, though Gus’s weapon of choice isn’t a .44 Magnum. Instead, it’s his eyes, which are beginning to fail him and threaten his baseball scouting career. Luckily, his estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) steps in to help.
Directed by Robert Lorenz, “Curve” is a heartfelt tale about a daughter’s love for her father. Though no actual curveballs are thrown at the audience with its formulaic and clichéd plot, I had way too much fun enjoying Eastwood and Adams’s father-daughter chemistry to care.
Given one last assignment to prove his worth in the baseball scouting business, Lobel not only feels the pressures of aging, but also the mounting pressures on the job. Computers, which are cheaper and more efficient because they conveniently record every statistic about any player, threaten his “old-school” scouting ways.
Though Lobel initially refuses his daughter’s help, he finally caves during an unexpected visit from her at one of his scouting games. This is where the family drama begins to heat up, as Mickey and the cigar-chomping, headstrong Lobel are forced to work out their differences.
Along the way, Lobel reconnects with Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), an old friend and a rival team’s scout. Sparks fly between Mickey and Johnny and the rest of the film would have played out like another Lifetime movie, save for Adams’ emotionally-charged, riveting performance. In fact, she nearly steals the show, though Eastwood is also at the top of his game, adding comedic elements based around his age and grumpiness. Watching Lobel trying to back his Mustang out of the garage is hilarious, as he slams into everything in the process.
“Trouble with the Curve’s” greatest strength by far is its acting. The film also does an excellent job of juggling different emotions. Seeing the 82-year-old Eastwood joke about his age, as he constantly runs into furniture and curses under his breath was comical.
On the flip side, director Robert Lorenz also did a great job of exposing the frustration and hardships of growing old. No one was laughing when a disheartened and nearly blind Lobel stares at himself in the bathroom mirror, reminiscing of past regrets and facing his inner demons. At times, you pity his character, especially his stubbornness and his inability to open up and express his feelings to his daughter. At other times, you get the feeling that Lobel may just turn out OK. “Trouble with the Curve” is a good movie that is worth seeing, despite its obvious flaws.