Director: Robert Lorenz
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman
Running time: 111 minutes
Release: November 30th
It’s a shame to see a talent like Clint Eastwood so visibly deteriorate and in such public fashion like he has over the past six months. From his embarrassing performance at the Republican National Convention and “that” speech, to his wife’s reality TV series, it’s fair to say that Clint Eastwood is slowly beginning to circle the drain and a Jack & Jill / Meet The Fockers type film is slowly becoming inevitable.
While Trouble with the Curve isn’t so terrible as to be offensive, it’s not exactly impressive, or even memorable either. The story follows Gus Lobel (Eastwood), an ageing baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves who is nearing retirement. At the beginning of the draft season, Lobel’s superiors (John Goodman and Robert Patrick) are beginning to suspect that Lobel has lost his edge. Privately, he’s suffering from cataracts and is becoming increasingly cantankerous and forgetful. His estranged daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), is urged to join Lobel on the road and help him secure new talent for the Braves. The story itself follows a reasonably drab line; Adams slowly ingratiating herself with her gruff father whilst Eastwood softens and begins to respect his daughter’s talents. Along the way, Eastwood and Adams meet Johnny ‘The Flame’ Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), a washed-up baseball player who’s looking to become an announcer—but who for some reason is working as a scout.
The storyline, as mentioned, is reasonably predictable and safe. There’s nothing new or original about any of Trouble with the Curve—which works both for and against it. The film is easy watching, not at all taxing, challenging, or memorable in any particular way. Eastwood is clearly better than the material, as is Adams and Timberlake. It’s true, films such as this do not translate well with a non-American audience. That said, some sports films—such as Any Given Sunday or Slap Shot—carry over simply because the script achieves a much broader appeal and has qualities that work for non sports fans. This, unfortunately, isn’t the case with Trouble with the Curve. Robert Lorenz’s direction is minimal and uninteresting, lacking any kind of stamp or vision. The script is bland and cliched, failing to touch base on any real emotional level. Overall, Trouble with the Curve is an inoffensive sports film that has little to offer.