‘Trouble with the Curve’
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman
Director: Robert Lorenz
Running time: 1:51
Rated: PG-13; language, sexual references and smoking Looking like 250 miles of bad road and talking in a voice that sounds as if it’s been abraded by the gravel on that road, Clint Eastwood goes full curmudgeon in “Trouble with the Curve.” At 82, he gives his most ossified performance yet.
His character, Gus Lobel, a baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves, is a variation on the crusty old dude he played in “Gran Torino,” only crankier. He growls. He glares. He grumps.
He blunders into furniture. He falls down.
He’s having trouble with his vision. Can’t see too well anymore. Bad news for someone in his line of work, who needs to keep an eagle eye out for hot prospects. A smarmy front-office exec played with maximum smarm by Matthew Lillard wants to put him out to pasture.
Meanwhile, he’s having issues with his daughter, a hotshot lawyer played by Amy Adams. They’ve been at odds most of her life because he’s been an emotionally unavailable, often absent dad. Not to mention a grouch. And does she resent him for it.
But with his job in jeopardy and with the Braves’ chief of scouting, a longtime family friend played by John Goodman, urging the daughter to go on the road to play guardian angel to her creaky daddy, Gus is forced to reassess his relationship with his kid, confront his mortality and try to prove to himself and the Braves that even at his advanced age he still has the stuff to do his job.
We’ve just entered the Cliché Zone. First clue: The scene where Gus talks sorrowfully to the tombstone of his dear dead wife. Oh dear.
In the Cliché Zone, you can see every single twist and turn of the plot coming at you from 10 miles away. Will father and daughter reconcile? Will a cheery young scout played by Justin Timberlake win the daughter away from her drippy lawyer boyfriend? Will the front office sleazeball get his comeuppance?
Will there be a happy ending? Darn tootin’ there will, even if first-time director (and Eastwood’s longtime producing partner) Robert Lorenz has to launch the picture into the most far-fetched realms of pure Hollywood fairy tale storytelling to get to where we know it’s going.